Final SGR route out, but cuts through park

The Nairobi National Park with proposed routes
The Nairobi National Park with proposed routes

The government has settled on a new path for the Naivasha route of the standard gauge railway, but it still cuts through the middle of the Nairobi National Park.

The path has a viaduct that cuts across the middle of the park for six kilometres, dividing it into two almost equal portions.

The railway line will be carried on pillars rising eight metres at the entrance of the park. They will be tallest at 41 metres at the exit of the park.

Conservation groups have opposed the new path and demand the government takes the railway completely out of the park. But the Kenya Wildlife Service board of trustees has accepted this route, according to a meeting between representatives from the Conservation Alliance of Kenya and those from the government departments involved.

President Uhuru Kenyatta is expected to launch the Nairobi-Naivasha leg on September 26.

Environment PS Margaret Mwakima, her Transport counterpart Irungu Nyakera and Kenya Railways Corporation’s Atanas Maina announced the new development last week when they met the alliance members.

“The government is committed to ensure these developments do not compromise the natural resources for current and future generation, but a trade-off for the interest of the Kenyan people must be made,” Irungu said.

They also announced an Environmental Impact Assessment will only be carried out after Uhuru launches the project. The alliance wants the launch to be postponed until the EIA is done.

“A launch of the project before the EIA has been concluded could highly compromise the process and the decision. It’s unlikely that Nema will deny Kenya Railways an EIA licence for a project the President has already launched,” says Julius Kamau, the executive director of the East African Wildlife Society.

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