, NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 25 – The China Road and Bridge Corporation will begin laying the tracks for the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) by the end of the year.
The Manager for External Relations and Cooperation, the SGR project Julius Li says the plans are on course since clearing of the earth is almost halfway completed.
He says up to now over 50 percent of the construction work of the sub grade, bridges and culverts has been completed ahead of schedule.
So far he says the designs of the integration engineering of the electric power signals among others have also been completed.
“As we gear towards construction of the SGR project, one of Kenya’s flagship projects under vision 2030, it is our firm belief that the new railway will reaffirm Kenya as the logistics hub for the region. So far we have signed purchase agreements with 450 local suppliers and subcontracted over 50 local partners, we are currently in talks with another 50 local firms for partnerships in different areas,” he added.
So far about 25, 000 Kenyans have been hired with about 5,000 more expected to be hired directly and indirectly throughout the project.
The new railway is Kenya’s largest infrastructure project and will cost about Sh327 billion.
Upon completion of construction the project will upgrade Kenya’s transportation network, reduce cost of logistics and drive Kenya’s economic development.
Once complete, passenger trains using the SGR will cruise at speeds of 120 kilometres per hour while cargo trains will do 80kph.
This will shorten time taken between Mombasa and Nairobi to about four and a half hours for passengers and eight hours for cargo.
Julius was speaking during the Kenya-China Cultural Exchange Festival at one of the SGR project campsites at Syokimau.
“The purpose of holding this event is to strengthen China Kenya Cultural and people to people exchanges, enhance the understanding and friendship between the two peoples as well as win support for future development of China Kenya relations, including major projects such as industrial capacity corporation, “he added.