Floods wash away part of Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) project

A section of the newly constructed Standard Gauge Railway which is believed to have been washed away by the rain. (PHOTO: COURTESY)
The quality of the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) project was put into question after a section was washed away by flood waters.

A section of the SGR's protection slope around Kambu area in Makueni County was washed away by heavy rains that have been pounding parts of Ukambani for the past five days.

However, engineers carrying out construction works on the multi-billion-shilling railway quickly dispelled fears of poor workmanship.

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 said.

He added that engineers were on the ground to repair the damaged section.

Karanja said the quality of the SGR can only be assessed when all the construction work is complete and the contractor hands over the project to the government.

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"There is a lot that needs to be done in terms of the embankments, the protection slopes and drainage system. There is no way one can talk of substandard work when the project works are not complete," he said.

The heavy rains have also clogged the railway underpasses used by pedestrians and vehicles with mud making transport difficult.

On Friday, a minibus that plies between Kiusyani market and Nairobi stalled at a clogged underpass linking the area to Mtito Andei Town, forcing passengers to wade through mud as the rains pounded the area.

Residents of Masongaleni in Kibwezi Sub-county also faced a similar fate as they were forced to walk through mud and debris at an underpass that connects Kibwezi and Machinery markets.

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Standard Gauge Railway (SGR)Kenya RailwaysMakueni County