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SGR bridge won’t disrupt Nairobi National Park’s wildlife, says contractor

Noise deflectors will be installed on the standard gauge railway bridge in the Nairobi National Park among other measures the contractor says will help reduce the effects of the project on wildlife.

The deflectors, according to the contractor, will minimise noise from trains.

The bridge’s foundations will be deep enough to avert vibrations during construction and its colour was chosen to blend with the environment, a brief seen by the Daily Nation says.

The plan by the government to build a 6.7 kilometre bridge through the park has attracted furious protests from environmentalists, who say it will sound the conservancy’s death knell.

President Uhuru Kenyatta last month insisted the bridge would be built as “every care had been taken to ensure no environmental degradation” after activists led by Okiya Omtatah obtained court orders stopping its construction.

Last week, US-based award-winning actress Lupita Nyong’o urged Kenyans to rally behind the cause to block the multi-billion shilling railway from passing through the park.

REDUCE GROUND VIBRATION

However, in the brief by China Road Bridge Corporation, the contractors are confident the bridge will not affect wildlife in the park, the only one in the world located in the middle of a city.

“The park will remain undivided and clearance under the bridge is considered adequate for the smooth flow of wildlife and tourist traffic,” the brief says.

The average height of the bridge will be 18 metres, starting from eight metres at the northern entrance becoming 41 metres at the southern exit, it says.

‘The bridge pillar foundations will be dug deep to reduce ground vibration and the pillars will be at least 32 meters apart for unrestricted movement of wildlife,” the brief says.

The contractor will only work during the day and will fence off the site to Kenya Wildlife Service specifications, while the waste will be levelled to ensure ease of movement.

In her protest, Ms Nyong’o said in a social media post it will affect the tourism industry.

“We as Kenyans are so fortunate to be the custodians of a large biodiversity in our national parks,” she wrote to her 2.9 million Facebook followers.

“But the Nairobi National Park is being threatened: There are plans to build a new railroad through it. Though we do need a new railway system, this plan is not the only solution,” she said.

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