President Uhuru Kenyatta challenged the contractor of the transformational Nairobi-Naivasha SGR line to stick to the June 2019 completion timeline.
President Kenyatta said he would like to use the SGR line next year on his way to Kajiado for Madaraka Day celebrations.
“We want to ride on the Nairobi-Naivasha SGR on May 31 next year, and then go to Kajiado for Madaraka Day the next day,” said President Kenyatta.
The President was speaking at Kyang’ombe (DK2 Project Site) in Nairobi on June 23, where he witnessed the installation of bridge girders across the Nairobi National Park which is a critical part of the ongoing extension of the SGR line.
The 120km stretch was launched in October 2016 and will traverse five counties namely Nairobi, Kajiado, Kiambu, Nakuru and Narok, and is expected to be complete by June next year.
Speaking at the event, Chen Yun, the Vice President of the Communications Construction Company (CCCC), the contractor, assured the President that he would do his best to meet the deadline.
“We look out to complete the Nairobi to Naivasha SGR by June 2019. We will also employ more residents of Kajiado and Narok counties where the rail is passing through,” said Yun.
The project, 49 percent complete, is expected to cost Sh.150 billion is co-financed by the Kenyan and Chinese governments.
Addressing the contentious issue of land compensation along the new railway corridor, Transport and Infrastructure Cabinet Secretary James Macharia said that mechanisms have been put in place where aggrieved citizens can seek legal redress without delaying the project.
“People can go to court to seek resolution of disputes around compensation but time-bound projects where delays cost heavy financial loses should be allowed to progress,” said the CS.
The SGR project is expected to open up Kenya’s hinterland for investments and trade as an enabler for President Kenyatta’s big 4 development agenda.
The Nairobi-Naivasha SGR stretch is also expected to de-congest the accident-prone highway between the two towns.
Among the projects lined up to benefit from the current extension of the SGR is the proposed Special Economic Zones (SEZs) in Suswa and Mai Mahiu.
Further, the project is hoped to boost tourism, agro-processing and industrial development in the geothermal-rich Rift Valley.
Prominent features along the Nairobi-Naivasha SGR line include 27 bridges, three tunnels and four stations in Rongai, Ngong’, Mai Mahiu and Suswa with a capacity to handle 250 passengers each per daily.
The ongoing construction has created a total of 22,000 direct and indirect jobs covering both skilled and unskilled labour.
Once the entire Mombasa-Malaba SGR project is complete, it is expected to deliver safe, efficient and cost effective railway transport, decongest the port of Mombasa, and facilitate easy access to local and foreign markers for produce from Kenya’s hinterland.
Additionally, the SGR intervention is meant to lower the cost of production for Kenyan goods and services, create an estimated 30,000 jobs, reduce environmental degradation occasioned by transportation of goods by road, and reduce the wear and tear of our highways.