Construction of the Phase 2A of the Standard Gauge Railway line from Nairobi to Naivasha will commence soon. This follows the completion of the route identification process paving other processes including an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), Relocation Action Planning (RAP) and compulsory land acquisition.
Construction of the proposed 120 kilometre line will start at the West end of the Nairobi South hub, turn westward through the Nairobi National Park (NNP), through Twala town and Rongai town. The line will cross Magadi Road and Ngong Road and descend into the Rift Valley through a five (5) kilometre tunnel on the Northwest side of Ngong hills and proceed all the way to the proposed Industrial Park sites at Mai Mahiu and Suswa.
The scope of works will entail construction of a single line bridge spanning the entire 6 kilometre width of the Nairobi National Park’s (NNP) savannah. The route was settled on after extensive consultations between the Ministry of Transport, Infrastructure, Housing and Urban Planning, the Ministry of Environment, Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS), Kenya Railways and other stakeholders.
Speaking at a Press Conference at Serena Hotel on September 13, 2016, Kenya Railways Managing Director Mr. A. K. Maina said the route that had been chosen is the best option from the various options that were under consideration.
“We are ready to commence construction of Phase 2A which will see construction of a SGR line from Nairobi to Naivasha. The line will be constructed over the width of Nairobi National Park. This way, there will be minimal interference with the flora and fauna below the line. Only areas where piers will be constructed will be affected by the process,” he said.
Speaking at the same function, the KWS Chairman Dr. Richard Leakey confirmed the line will pass over the width of the National Park. This he said was as a result of careful and long drawn consultations which included all the relevant stakeholders. He assured public that the KWS management will ensure that all interests of the wildlife in the park are secured especially the free movement of animals in the park is not interfered with and also duly protect the interests of the National Park. He disclosed that first and foremost, Kenya Railways will have to do an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) for the project.
Construction of the Nairobi to Naivasha line is expected to last 54 months. The section that lies within the National Park will be constructed over a period of 18 months and will be executed in three (3) stages. All through the period while construction will be taking place within the park, the sections under construction will be zoned off.
The chosen route is deemed to present the best option both during construction and operation as regard to cost. The section falls under Phase 2 of the project which will see the line constructed all the way to Malaba.