China Communications Construction Company
Kajiado County
Standard Gauge Railway
Steve Zhao

4.5km Ngong rail tunnel to be ready in August

Works on Kenya’s first and longest railway tunnel at Em-Bulbul in Kajiado County will be completed in August, China Communications Construction Company (CCCC) has said.

The tunnel is on the 120-kilometre Nairobi-Naivasha route of the standard gauge railway (SGR).

The company’s spokesperson Steve Zhao said engineers were working round the clock to ensure that the section is completed in the next five months.

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“So far 1.2km is complete from the exit end, 0.8km from the entry side of the tunnel and 0.5km from the mid-section. The construction is taking place simultaneously to ensure that we complete all the work within the stipulated time,” said Mr Zhao in a statement Wednesday.

The Em-Bulbul SGR tunnel in Kajiado County covers 4.5km and is the first of the three sections of the 7.14km SGR tunnel, the contractor says is the second longest railway tunnel in Africa.

A construction worker walks past a frame used to hold a tunnel in the ongoing construction of the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) Nairobi-Naivasha line. FILE PHOTO |NMG

The other two sections of the tunnel cover 1km and 1.64km.

These will be constructed along the Naivasha-Nairobi standard route at a total cost of Sh150 billion funded by the Exim Bank of China.

The construction of the line to Naivasha is expected to be completed within 2019, the company said.

The Ngong tunnel has been designed as a single-track railway tunnel with a clearance height of 7.6 metres and a width of 6.4 metres constructed using the three-bench seven-step excavation method.

Benching is the creation of a series of steps in the vertical wall of an excavation to reduce the wall height and ensure stability during construction.

The construction of the Naivasha line started in January with the production of parts like T-beams and sleepers.

After the completion of the Nairobi-Naivasha line, it is expected that the line to Kisumu will be built at a cost of Sh350 billion.

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