INFRASTRUCTURE

Sh150Bn Nairobi-Naivasha SGR complete, Uhuru to launch

The 120.49 kilometres project will extend Madaraka Express passenger and freight services from Nairobi to Suswa.

In Summary

•The project which commencement in 2017 cuts across Nairobi, Kajiado, Nakuru and Narok with four passenger stations- Ongata Rongai, Ngong, Mai Mahiu and Suswa.

•Plans for Phase 2B (Duka Moja-Kisumu) hit a snag in April after the government failed to secure the much needed Sh368 billion for the project.

Suswa passenger station which is part of the SGR Phase 2A on January 9. /FAITH MUTEGI
Suswa passenger station which is part of the SGR Phase 2A on January 9. /FAITH MUTEGI

President Uhuru Kenyatta is tomorrow expected to commission  the second phase of the Standard Gauge Railway, finally bringing to operationalization of the rail between Nairobi and Suswa after a five-month delay.

Commissioning of the 120.49 kilometres (Phase 2A) project will see Madaraka Express passenger and freight services  commence.

The completion of the line had been delayed by compensation where 1,810 persons were affected.

The most affected area was a 35- kilometers stretch between Embul  Bul (Ngong) and the Nairobi National Park, where compensation delays slowed down the contractor- China Communications Construction Company (CCCC).

President Uhuru is expected to use the occasion to also commission works on the Inland Container Depot (ICD) located within the planned Dry Port near Mai Mahiu town, Naivasha sub-county commissioner Mbogo Mathioya has confirmed.

“The SGR extension to Naivasha is now complete and on Wednesday, the Head of State will officially launch it by opening all the stations along the route,” Mathioya said during an update on the preparations for the Presidential event.

Phase 2A which commencement in 2017 cuts across Nairobi, Kajiado, Nakuru and Narok with four passenger stations- Ongata Rongai, Ngong, Mai Mahiu and Suswa. It has one inter-change station at Nachu station.

“The President will also use the occasion to launch the Inland Container Depot which will be located around the 1,000 acres gazetted for the industrial park,” he said. The main function is set for Mai Mahiu.

The project was set for completion in May with rail services expected to have commenced by June 1, according to both Kenya Railways and CCCC.

“By July we were supposed to be handing over but now the plans have been affected by land issues” Jasper Liu, assistant manager-public relations and cooperation department at CCCC had said earlier.

To date a total amount of Sh17.6 billion has been spent on compensation, through the National Lands Commission.

Acting Managing Director Philip Mainga had assured Kenyans that they would begin enjoying train services both passenger and freight from Mombasa to Mai – Mahiu from June, 1 2019.

Meanwhile, the Maasai community has moved to court to oppose the planned dry port.

Narok East Mp Ken Aramat has said there are over 10,000 families that would be affected by the project, noting that the proposed 4,000 acres alternative land would not be enough.

“The case is being handled by the concerned government department as the affected families had been compensated by Kedong ranch with 4,000 acres,” Mathioya said yesterday.

Aramat however said initially, kedong had offered 12,000 acres but this was changed after the “interference of some senior government officers.”

“It’s true I do not agree with the 4,000 acres from Kedong as this will see tens of families living around the gazetted land locked out,” he said.

Traders along the line are however optimistic the project will open up business opportunities.

 “We have seen the number of companies seeking office space in this town rise and this will mean more job opportunities, need for houses and food,” said James Mugo, a Mai Mahiu based trader.

Nahashon Ole Kipenchu from Suswa said: “Already we have seen more commercial buildings coming up and once the SGR train is operational we shall definitely see more business opportunities.”

Plans for Phase 2B (Duka Moja-Kisumu) hit a snag in April after the government failed to secure the much needed Sh368 billion for the project.

Instead, the state has opted to upgrade the old Mete- Gauge Railway to connect the dry port to Kisumu, mainly for transit cargo into the hinterland.