Work on railway connecting Kenya’s geothermal fields to Nairobi set to start next year

Railway lines, Kenya (source: flickr/Luca Esposti, creative commons)
Alexander Richter 14 Nov 2016

Work on a railway connection between Nairobi and Kenya's geothermal fields in Naivasha will start early next year and will likely be finished by mid-2021.

In a news piece from Kenya, it is reported that work on a railway network to connect Kenya’s Capital Nairobi with the geothermal fields at Naivasha is set to start early next year.

The northern corridor link, known as 2A, will be constructed by China Road and Bridges Corp, following commissioning of the project by the Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta on Oct 19, 2016.

The Ksh 150 billion ($1.5 billion) project will connect the geothermal fields and planned industrial parks to Nairobi, and via another railway connection also to Mombasa.

The 120 kilometer network will take an estimated four and a half years to be built. Due to the mountainous terrain it will take longer than the 472 km Nairobi-Mombasa connection, wich is expected to take 2 years to build.

The Nairobi-Mombasa project should be completed in December, six months ahead of schedule. Trial operations are scheduled to begin in January, with the railway opening officially the following June.

According to CRBC, the geographical conditions of Ngong Hills and Great Rift Valley are unfavorable and the terrain is complex. “To overcome the adverse conditions for phase 2A, we plan a large amount of high backfilling and deep cutting. For specific sections, we will construct slab-pile walls or retaining walls to prevent slopes from collapsing,” a report from CRBC states.

The project will also involve the construction of four tunnels, the longest of which will be more than 4.5 km and the shortest half a kilometer. Nine long bridges will also be built, three of them more than a kilometer in length, with the longest being 6.7 km, traversing Nairobi National Park. It will be the third-longest bridge in Africa after October Bridge in Cairo, Egypt, which is 20.5 km long, and Third Mainland Bridge, in Lagos, Nigeria, at 10.5 km.

Commissioning the project in October, President Kenyatta urged communities along the route to cooperate with the contractor to ensure the project is completed on schedule.

Source: China Daily