Kenya is expected to sign a Ksh380 billion ($3.8 billion) contract for the second phase of the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) in September.
Transport and Infrastructure Cabinet Secretary James Macharia on Tuesday said the deal will be inked during this year’s Forum on China-Africa Corporation (FOCAC) that will be held from September 1-5 in China.
“We shall be travelling to China on the first week of September for the FOCAC summit and we shall sign the Ksh380 billion contract for the second phase of the SGR from Naivasha to Kisumu,” Mr Macharia said.
However, the CS did not name the financier of the second phase, only saying the project is a great opportunity for investors to build industries and houses along the corridor, beginning from Mombasa to Kisumu.
Speaking during the Architectural Association of Kenya annual convention at Pride Inn Hotel, the CS said the signing of the deal will put the cost of the complete project at Ksh800 billion ($8 billion).
“The Mombasa-Nairobi phase cost Kah327 billion ($3.2 billion), the extension to Naivasha cost Ksh150 billion ($1.5 billion) and the final phase will cost Ksh380 billion,” Mr Macharia said.
According to the government's plan, phase 2B of the project will start at the planned Naivasha Industrial Park where Phase 2A ends.
It will pass through Narok, Bomet, Kericho counties and terminate in Kisumu where the government will put up a modern inland port.
The railway line will have 25 stations — a county station in Kisumu, six intermediate stations and 18 crossing stations.
“The key thing about SGR is that it is the main artery of Kenya’s key development corridor, which starts from Mombasa-Nairobi; what we call the Northern corridor.
“From Nairobi, it goes to the West, and when you get to Naivasha, one branch (central line) goes through Eldoret and the other one goes to Kisumu (southern line),” he said.
A statement posted on the FOCAC website on August 1 said a contractor of the extended Nairobi-Naivasha SGR had already started laying tracks and rail sleepers as implementation of the mega project gathers steam.
The contractor — China Communications Construction Company (CCCC) — said the laying of tracks and rail sleepers is being carried out from Narok towards Nairobi.
The 120km Nairobi-Naivasha line is the first of the three segments that make up the second phase of the SGR project that ends in Malaba town located at the Kenya-Uganda border.
The site quoted Steve Zhao, the CCCC Kenya SGR project spokesman, saying the construction of the stations has been ongoing in Ongata Rongai, Ngong and Suswa towns.
“We are on course to complete the 4.5km Ngong tunnel in August, the first and longest railway tunnel in the country,” he said.
Six per cent of the railway line will consist of three tunnels measuring 7.147km and it will have 27 bridges measuring 17.3km, accounting for 14.4 per cent of the total project length.