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September 19, 2018

SGR engineers drill 1.6km tunnel as builder works to meet deadline

China Communication Construction Company Limited liaison officer Jeff Muiruri and drilling and tunneling lead engineer Tian Ji at SGR Nachu area on Tuesday.
China Communication Construction Company Limited liaison officer Jeff Muiruri and drilling and tunneling lead engineer Tian Ji at SGR Nachu area on Tuesday.

The standard gauge railway’s first tunnel has been drilled in Nachu, Kikuyu constituency, as the contractor rushes to complete the project’s second phase by June next year.
The second phase starts from Syokimau and ends in Maai Mahai, where a station will be built. It will be opened by President Uhuru Kenyatta on June 1 next year.
The project is expected to cost Sh150 billion. It is co-financed by the Kenyan and Chinese governments.
The China Communication Construction Company Ltd said the second phase would take a little longer than expected because of rough terrain, mainly rocky hills.
Company liaison officer Jeff Muiruri yesterday said the rocky terrain forced the Chinese engineers to decide to drill a tunnel instead.
“If rails are constructed on the terrain, there is a possibility of instability,” he said.  
Muiruri said they completed drilling the 1.642km tunnel on June 13. They are reinforcing it and installing lights.
“The engineer spearheading the drilling has done others in different countries. He is experienced. He is using the latest imported equiment to give us quality results,” he said.
Muiruri was accompanied by drilling and tunnelling lead engineer, Tian Ji.
Residents said the railway line would open up the area. The value of land has gone up.
Resident John Gitau said they live on government relief food since their farms produce very little due to the rocky, poor soil.
“We plant crops which are drought resistant. Even trees don’t grow well, only shrubs and bushes. Investors are looking for lands, meaning businesses will be opened in this region,” he said.
Last month, Uhuru said he will ride the Nairobi-Naivasha SGR line on May 31 next year to Kajiado for Madaraka Day the next day.
He urged the contractor to stick to the June 2019 completion timeline.
Chen Yun, the vice president of the Communications Construction Company, assured the President he would do his best to meet the deadline. “We look to complete the line by June 2019. We will also employ more residents of Kajiado and Narok counties where the rail is passing,” he said.
The SGR project is expected to open up Kenya’s hinterland for investments and trade as an enabler for Uhuru’s Big Four agenda.  The Nairobi-Naivasha SGR stretch is also expected to de-congest the accident-prone highway between the two towns.


 

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