China Communication Construction Company (CCCC) which is constructing the Nairobi – Naivasha Standard gauge Railway has laid 86 kilometer of the rail line which is about 90 per cent of the entire work of the project.
What remains is a paltry 10 Percent or 34km section of the railway that is envisaged to reduce in traffic jams and saving on the cost of funds allocated in roads construction and repairs by both County and National government.
The overall length of Nairobi-Naivasha Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) is 120.49 kilometers under the crossing city scheme with 11 proposed stations out of which 5 will be implemented immediately.
Speaking during a media tour of the project Monday, Acting Managing Director of Kenya Railways (KR), Phillip Mainga said that SGR will help in ferrying of people from Nairobi to Suswa and vice versa.
Apart from the project creating job opportunities locally for over 40,000 workers the Ag.MD said access to markets and the railway line will also boost tourism as Kenya is rated number seven internationally for building of a railway line on a terrain land.
“This railway line passes through Nairobi National park. This factor will make most of our customers enjoy traveling using SGR because of the wildlife and beautiful terrains they encounter while traveling,” said Mainga.
“We have elevated our pillars so that animals can move freely without any interference from the train and provided under pass for the locals to easily access their destinations without straining,” he told the Press Corps invited for the tour.
The caretaker MD reiterated that the project will further deliver low production costs leading to higher speeds thus reducing transit times between destinations, and reduction in environmental degradation with less emission from trains.
Mainga said collaboration between the CCCC and Kenya Railways is working tirelessly to ensure they meet their target on completion of the project by May 31, 2019 and confirmed that that they are following on land compensation to previous land owners.
“The challenge that we are facing is land acquisition. The work of the government is providing funds to the land predecessors whereas the National Land Commission compensates land, “said Mainga.
Kenya Railway Engineer James Karanja said that there are four intermediate stations from Nairobi to Suswa which are in Ongata Rongai, Ngong station, Mai Mahiu and Suswa.
“These intermediate stations will help in decongestion of roads and ferrying people to their destinations. 65 percent of the work in Ongata Rongai terminus has been completed,” explained Karanja.
CCCC is the EPC contractor of the project. On September 19, 2015, a commercial contract of Sh.150 billion (USD 1.482billion) was signed between CCCC and KR for construction of the proposed SGR sector from Nairobi to Naivasha.
Through the construction of the SGR, the governments of Kenya, Rwanda and South Sudan are committed to providing high capacity and cost effective railways transport within the Northern corridor.
By Lenard Lubanga/ Elizabeth Wambui/Wangari Ndirangu