, NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 16 – Kenyans have so far supplied goods and services worth Sh50 billion to the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) project as at February 2016, representing 22 percent of local content to the project.
This is according to Kenya Railways Corporation Managing Director Atanas Maina who says this is lower than the government target of Sh88 billion, 40 percent of local content to the project.
During and after construction, the project is set inject about 1.5 percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) to the economy.
President Uhuru Kenyatta had instructed that 40 percent of supplies of goods and services to the SGR be local content.
Already over 30,000 Kenyans have been employed, as more locals are expected to reap big from the construction.
“Along this corridor we have seen a lot of shops coming up, there has been a lot of economic activity, beneficiaries of land compensation have also been able to set up businesses and put better home structures, “Maina said.
Post-construction, the railway is expected to ease flow of goods handling 216,000 Twenty Equivalent Unit Containers which is offloading about 108 tracks off the road, thus lowering production costs.
The project as of February 2016 was 70 percent complete and is expected to be finalised in June 2017.
Laying of tracks has so far reached 180 kilometres.
The line will have two major stations in Mombasa and Nairobi, seven intermediate stations and 23 crossing stations at various points that include Mariakani, Voi, Mtito Andei, Athi River, among others.
The line will also have 98 bridges covering 29km of the railway, used to span rivers, valley roads and areas where SGR crosses the existing Metre Gauge Railway.
Also, nine wildlife animal crossing corridors have been erected within Tsavo East and West National Parks that are over seven metres high and 70 metres wide for wildlife to pass by under the SGR line.
Once complete the freight train will travel at 80km/hr and passenger trains at 120Km/hr.
The project is the first phase of the two corridors that Kenya has identified for the development of the modern high capacity SGR system for both freight and passengers.
The second phase of the 490Km Nairobi-Kisumu- Malaba is set to begin in June 2016 starting with Nairobi-Naivasha, with financing already identified for the project.