by Ronald Njoroge
NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Work on the
China-funded Mombasa-Nairobi Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) is
almost finished as a Kenyan official said the construction was
"98 percent completed."
Project Coordinator of the SGR
Project Johnson Matu told Xinhua on Friday that the remaining 2
percent revolves around auxiliary works like drainage, fencing
as well as completion of the train stations along the route.
"So far the work is substantially complete, so we expect the
train to begin trial operations in June," Matu said.
Kenya has already received some of the locomotives that will
run on the 480-km SGR.
Construction of the railway began in January 2015 and is set
to be completed in June.
The construction was initially supposed to take 48 months.
"The Chinese contractors have deployed a lot of innovations
that have reduced the construction time," Matu said.
According to the railway official, the construction was
divided into sections that made the exercise manageable.
"Each team had a testing laboratory as well as adequate
resources that enabled the construction to be completed ahead of
schedule," he said.
There are currently 18 quality testing laboratories along the
route to ensure that materials are tested before being used in
the construction process.
Matu added that high-quality standards have been maintained
despite the railway being completed ahead of schedule.
"The railway has achieved Chinese class-one standard which is
recognized globally," he said.
The SGR railway, which will replace the existing line, will
have a capacity to move 22 million tonnes of cargo annually.
The mega infrastructure project is also expected to have
enormous impact on the economy once it is operational.
"We expect transportation cost especially for goods traveling
from Nairobi to Mombasa and vice versa to reduce drastically so
that products from Kenyan industries will become regionally and
globally competitive," Matu said.
During the implementation of phase one of the SGR project,
over 25,000 locals secured jobs as technicians and supervisors.
"The towns where the railway passes will become economic
centers that will also provide job and wealth creation for many
people," Matu added.
He also noted that the project has fostered technology
transfer that has benefited young Kenyans immensely.
"The Chinese engineers have trained their Kenyan counterparts
on railways construction and maintenance," said Matu.
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