Heavy floods swept part of the standard Gauge Railway (SGR) on Sunday, raising serious questions on the quality of the multi billion Kenya shillings project.
Heavy floods swept part of the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) on Sunday, raising serious questions on the quality of the multi billion Kenya shillings project.
A section of the SGR protection slope, around Kambu area in Makueni County, was swept away by heavy rains which has pounding parts of Ukambani and all over the country for the past one week.
As soon as the pictures of the damaged SGR were shared online, Kenyans took to twitter demanding to know why the much touted multi billion shilling project was already damaged yet it had not even been used.
The Kenya Railway Corporation, acknowledged the damage on its twitter handle, and indicated that the damage was not that extensieve.
According to the ministry of transport, engineers have already been sent on the site to begin repairs.
The ministry of transport has however downplayed the whole issue, saying it is normal for damage to be expected since the site had not yet been completed.
Engineer James Karanja, the lead consultant for Kenya Railways, described the damage as normal in any construction site, adding that work on protection slopes around Kambu area were yet to be completed.
"It was not SGR that was washed away by rains. What happened was the protection slope of the railway was hit and damaged by storm waters before the drainage system was completed. That is normal in construction sites so there is no cause for alarm," he told the standard.
Karanja further added that it was too soon to judge and assess the quality of KES327bn project, stating that can only be done once all the construction work has been completed and the contractor handed over the project to the government.
Construction of the 609km-long line began in October 2013 and is scheduled to be completed by December 2017.
The Mombasa-Nairobi phase of the project is estimated to cost KES327bn ($3.8bn). China Exim Bank will provide 90% of the financing while the remaining 10% will be contributed by the Kenyan Government.
SGR is one of the biggest infrastructure project Kenya has undertaken since independence and once completed it will shorted the time a passenger travels from Mombasa to Nairobi from ten hours to four hours.
The heavy rains have also clogged the railway underpasses used by pedestrians and vehicles with mud making transport difficult.
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