Compensation disputes in unfinished segments of the Standard Gauge Railway Nairobi-Naivasha route are all that stand between the completion of the 120-kilometre line before June 2019.
The compensation stalemate that saw work stopped on the railway in July is all that is holding up the SGR Phase 2A which according to the China Communications Construction Company (CCCC) is “80% done.”
In a statement on December 24, CCCC said the completion of the project depends on the current compensation stalemate as the unfinished segments of the SGR Phase 2A are in areas facing compensation disputes.
This includes areas between the Nairobi National Park and Embulbul – Ngong, Kajiado County.
“Before work was stopped in July 2018, the anticipated completion day was June 2019 and with the remaining section of work not being attended to, the launch date may be delayed,” said Mr. Steve Zhao, CCCC Kenya Spokesman.
Mr Zhao also pointed out that the contractor is working closely with Kenya Railway Corporation (KRC) and National Lands Commission (NLC) to speed up the compensation process to the affected landowners so that work can resume.
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The snag has also impacted the status of the constructor’s employees. At the beginning of the year, CCCC employed 13,482 Kenyans and 2,148 Chinese personnel for the construction. With the work now stopped, the total number reduced to less than 6,000.
Kenyan employees seemed to take a majority hit, as the number of Chinese workers stands at around 958.
“Please note that in areas where work was halted temporarily, all employees in those areas were sent home awaiting the resumption of works at a later date,” said Mr. Zhao.
CCCC however intimated that 80% of the infrastructure, including roadbeds, culverts, bridges and station buildings, is in place.
The contractor also said that despite the land compensation challenges, CCCC has in 2018 achieved some notable milestones including drilling the longest railway tunnel in Kenya (4.5 km) at Embulbul in Kajiado County. The tunnel is also the 2nd longest railway tunnel in Africa.
Another milestone is the construction of one of the tallest bridges in Kenya – the Murua Olkondi Super Major Bridge in Duka Moja, Narok County. Its tallest pillar stands at a height of 46 meters.
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The 120km line is the first of the three segments that make up the second phase of the SGR construction that is expected to terminate at Malaba.
Phase 2A to Naivasha will pass through the five counties of Nairobi, Kajiado, Kiambu, Nakuru and Narok. It will feature five newly-built stations at Ongata Rongai, Ngong, Mai Mahiu, Suswa and Nachu, CCCC said.
As per the Chinese constructors, there are 27 bridges, which are 17.3 km in length and three tunnels, which are 7.148 km long. The total length of bridges and tunnels is 24.448 km, accounting for 20.4% of the route length.
SGR Phase 2A, starts from Syokimau and ends in Mai Mahiu, where a station will be built.
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