Change to SGR park route to cost Sh2bn
Elevated track will still bisect national park, but there will be less disruption to wildlife
The Nairobi-Naivasha standard gauge railway will cost Sh2.02 billion more to modify as demanded by conservationists, the Kenya Railways Corporation has said.
This extra amount will go towards adjusting the 36km section running through the Nairobi National Park via a tunnel northwest of Ngong Hills.
The track will now be elevated so wildlife can move beneath it. This will cost Sh54.84 billion, up from Sh52.82 billion. The 120km Naivasha route was initially estimated to cost Sh150 billion.
KRC managing director Atanas Maina said the modification along the Nairobi National Park will be more costly. It will require several improvements to make it 400 metres shorter than the initial route, which was to run through the park for 6.4 kilometres.
“The modified savannah route has been approved by the KWS. It will require major modification to the Nairobi South Hub to allow reverse move- ment of trains from and to Naivasha,” Maina said yesterday in Nairobi during a media briefing. “There will also be a need for 50 hectares from Nairobi National Park to carry out the modification.”
The government approved the designs for the Nairobi-Naivasha SGR in March and later signed commercial contracts with the China Communications Construction Company. Construction was expected to start this month.
However, a standoff with conservationists over environmental impact of the railway forced the KRC to figure out a new route to ensure less conflict with wildlife. Conservationists demanded the KWS disclose all details on ongoing infrastructure developments inside parks.
Maina said the SGR will cross the park on a single bridge spanning six kilometres, the total width of the Nairobi National Park. The average height of the bridge above the ground will be 18 metres, he said.
“This will start from eight metres at the entrance into the northern side of the park and 41 metres at the southern end of the park.”