State sets stage for Sh380 billion extension of railway to Kisumu

Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) workers go about their duty along Mombasa-Nairobi. (Photo: Denish Ochieng’/Standard)

The Government is to start on-ground preparations for the construction of the 257-km Standard Gauge Railway between Naivasha and Kisumu.

The section is projected to cost Sh380 billion ($3.66 billion). The proposed phase 2B of the project will pass through the counties of Narok, Bomet, Kericho and terminate in Kisumu, where a Sh14.3 billion port will be put up, according to the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) report on the project.

The port is expected to enable the country move goods across Lake Victoria to other East African countries.

“The construction of the Naivasha-Kisumu SGR Project will be at a cost of $3.66 billion (Sh380 billion) while the construction of the proposed Kisumu Port will be at a cost of $137.7 million (Sh14.3 billion),” said the EIA report commissioned by China Communications Construction Company (CCCC), the project contractor.

CCCC, through its subsidiary China Road and Bridge Corporation (CRBC), built the first phase of SGR between Mombasa and Nairobi and has been contracted to extend the line to Naivasha, in phase 2A of the project. The Exim Bank of China, which financed the first phase of project, will finance through loans phase 2A and 2B of the project.

According to the EIA report, the railway line will have 25 stations including a county station in Kisumu, six intermediate stations and 18 crossing stations. It will start at the planned Naivasha Industrial Park Phase 2A terminal. It will then head Narok and pass the outskirts of the town, extend to Bomet and onwards to Sondu, Ahero South, Kibos and then Kisumu.

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The report notes that the route was the most ideal and had been chosen due to the gains it would offer the economies of the regions as well as savings made in the money that will be spent.

Other routes that CCCC had proposed in its feasibility study included Nairobi-Nakuru-Eldoret-Malaba and Nairobi-Nakuru-Kisumu-Malaba.

“The south route option was preferred after a comprehensive analysis of the three options. Factors considered during the analysis include economic investment, construction challenges and engineering, expanded urban and regional connectivity and human settlements and activity as well as general built up area,” said the report.

“The Nairobi-Naivasha Industrial Park-Narok-Bomet-Kisumu-Malaba route is the most recommendable for the Government of Kenya for SGR construction and operation in a more cost effective manner.”

Phase 2B of the SGR project will entail the construction of a port on Lake Victoria, which is expected to grow transportation of goods using the Lake to the neighbouring countries. Kenya currently moves commodities such as petroleum products using vessels across the Lake.

According to the report, other goods that will be moved through the railway and exported to other East African Community countries through the port include cement, coal and fertiliser. It will have two multipurpose berths.

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