The construction of the standard gauge railway in Kenya is ahead of schedule, and the country has signed another commitment for the construction of the Nairobi-Naivasha extension.
The 120km extension will link Nairobi and Mombasa to special industrial zones to be established in Naivasha —where the Olkaria geothermal power plants are located.
Last week, Kenya signed a commercial contract for the construction of Phase 2A of the Nairobi-Naivasha SGR. The agreement was signed by China Road and Bridge Corporation (CRBR) chairman Wen Gang and Kenya Railways managing director Atanas Maina and witnessed by President Uhuru Kenyatta.
Locomotives for the first phase have docked at the Mombasa port and set off to the sites. Work should start in less than two months.
According to Mr Maina, the implementation of civil works for the SGR was at 49 per cent at the start of September while more than 400km of the railway corridor had been constructed.
CRBC said that the laying of the track between Nairobi and Mombasa will begin in November. According to Julius Li, China Road’s manager for external relations and co-operation, laying of the rail-track along the whole line will commence in November.
“We will have the first phase start from Mtito Andei towards Mombasa, which will cover the Tsavo area, while the second phase will run from Emali all the way to Nairobi. Laying of the tracks will run concurrently,” said Mr Li.
Currently, construction of bridges, culverts and drainage at most stations is almost complete, together with clearing part of the railway corridors.
According to Yu Xiangdong, an SGR project manager from the China Communications Construction Company — the parent company of CRBC — the railways corridor construction has been divided into sections each with its own construction camp.
“These camps are involved in the construction of the stations, railway corridor, bridges, underpasses and overpasses,” said Mr Xiangdong.
Apart from the Nairobi eastern station, the SGR will also have stations in Mombasa, Emali, Kibwezi, Mtito Andei, Maiseny and Voi. The construction of the stations has commenced.
The Nairobi-Mombasa SGR project will cost $3.27 billion, and is due for completion in June 2017. The second phase that will see it extended to Naivasha is due to be complete in 2019.
Kenya Railways hopes to have a transaction adviser in place by the end of September to help select a private management firm for the SGR line. It hopes to select an experienced firm by mid next year.