The second phase of the SGR project was officially commissioned on October 19, 2016 by President Uhuru Kenyatta. The ceremony that took place at Embulbul work site section in Ngong Hills will feature a tunnel of about 15km from the city center. It will be the longest tunnel of Nairobi –Naivasha railway and it is the control work of Phase 2A rail network.
This project will link Naivasha-Nakuru from the Nairobi section. The total length of the link is 120km and the length of the subgrade is 92.531km, which accounts for about 77.1 per cent of the total network.
During his address to the public, President Kenyatta said that the phase launched will grow Kenya’s economy whilst expanding into new markets for businesses. He insisted that the project intends to utilize 40 per cent of the locally produced raw materials as provided by law and that the Chinese should follow this law to the latter.
MD Kenya Railways Corporation, Mr. Atanas Maina stated that they are yet to decide what part of the land will be consumed by the project and are still awaiting NEMA’s approval on the project. Maina also stated that they will be holding a meeting next week with concerned officials about the issue of the rail passing through national parks and come up with viable options that are inexpensive.
SGR is one of the mega infrastructure launched in 2013 that has faced hurdles like land compensation and cost valuations. The first phase of SGR will be completed in June 2017 while phase two is expected to begin in the first quarter of 2017.
Kenyatta touched on the issue of compensation and assured the locals that the process will be done in an accurate manner to ensure all people replaced by the project are rewarded equally.
Another section yet to begin is Nairobi-Malaba railway beginning from Nairobi terminus station and arriving at Kedong. Its completion will improve traffic conditions of northern Corridor, greatly reduce cross-border logistics transportation costs, create employment and enhance regional economic development.
Ngong Hills Tunnel
The tunnel is designed as the single track tunnel in which the entrance chainage is DK34+826, exit chainageDK39+333, and the total length of the main line is 4,507 meters. It has a clearance width of 6.4m and will pass through five fault zones, in which two of them are active fault zones. The tunnel body develops as geological structure with crushed rocks in fault zone.
Its construction will adopt the New Austrian Tunneling Method, in which Grade III surrounding rocks adopts the full face method of excavation, Grade IV and V surrounding rocks adopts the bench cut method of excavation and the Grade V surrounding rock adopts the curved heading core soil reserved method of excavation. The tunnel is a single track tunnel with narrow construction space and great difficulty in construction organization.
The difficulty of Nairobi- Naivasha railway lies in passing through the unfavorable geological section with rugged topography.
Government approved the designs for the Nairobi-Naivasha SGR earlier on this year and later signed commercial contracts with China Communications Construction Company.