, SULTAN HAMUD, Kajiado, May 28 – President Uhuru Kenyatta on Satruday inspected the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR), which is hurtling fast from Mombasa to Nairobi on its first leg.
The President visited a section of the project at Sultan Hamud and was briefed on the progress of the SGR, which is more than three-quarters done, is on schedule, and running within budget.
The rail had by February injected Sh50 billion directly into the pockets of Kenyan suppliers following President Kenyatta’s directive that 40 percent of supplies of goods and services to the SGR be local content, the President was told.
The project had also employed over 30,000 locals, fulfilling one of the major demands that jobs be handed to local communities during the construction of what is the biggest investment in east and Central Africa.
Once the SGR project is complete, it will drastically reduce transportation costs of goods from the port of Mombasa to Nairobi, projecting Kenya’s position as a regional business hub.
The President disclosed that the Government is in talks with investors to put up industrial parks along the SGR line so as to create jobs for Kenyans.
“We have discussed on how to set up industrial parks at Dongo Kundu in Mombasa, Voi, Mtito Andei, Nairobi and Naivasha which will help us create jobs for our young people,” said the President.
More than 75 per cent civil works have been completed on the first phase of the Sh420 billion project, with over 235 Km trackline laid between Voi and Sultan Hamud.
Major progress has been made on construction of 33 stations including 23 passing stations, eight intermediary stations and two major stations in Mombasa and Nairobi.
The second phase of the project will cover 487 Km from Nairobi-Kisumu-Malaba and it is divided into three sub-phases. These phases include 2A which is 120 Km from Nairobi to Naivasha.
Financing has been identified and construction is expected to start in September this year.
Phase 2B which is 262 Km will stretch from Naivasha-Narok-Bomet-Ahero-Kisumu while phase 2C will cover 107 Km from Kisumu-Yala-Mumias-Malaba.
The implementation of the Standard Gauge Railway will not only boost the transport development but also promote integration and industrialization in the East and Central Africa.
The main contractor of the SGR project, China Road and Bridge Corporation, has set up small construction camps along the route of the track to ensure smooth and efficient operations.
At Saturday’s function, the Ministry of Transport – through the Kenya Highway Authorities – signed an agreement with the China Road and Bridge Corporation for the construction of Nairobi Western Bypass.
The Western bypass road, which will link Ruaka to Waiyaki Way, will help decongest the city and facilitate easy movement of those traveling outside Nairobi.
President Kenyatta was accompanied by Cabinet Secretaries James Macharia (Transport and Infrastructure) and Joseph Nkaissery (Interior and Coordination of National Government), and Kajiado Governor David Ole Nkedienye among others.