KENYA: The Nairobi County Government is fast-tracking the construction of the proposed Embakasi Commuter Rail Station to take advantage of the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR). The railway is currently under construction and is expected to be ready in 2017.
The county deems the project and associated infrastructure as key planks as it seeks a permanent solution to the city’s public transport and vehicular congestion challenges. According to Nairobi City County Governor Evans Kidero, the county is already working with Kenya Railways Corporation (KRC) on the design of the Embakasi Commuter Rail Station, under the Nairobi Metropolitan Services Improvement Project (NamSIP).
“Under NamSIP, Nairobi City County, KRC and Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development have proposed a consultant to develop an integrated action plan for the station area and a zonal plan for the wider Embakasi area. This includes Syokimau Station and Jomo Kenyatta International Airport,” he said. “This is a highly participatory process that includes all the parties in the planning and infrastructure development.”
Critical to the proposed station is access infrastructure. This includes the rehabilitation and improvement of the access road to the Embakasi Station. Design and documentation for the same is being prepared jointly by the NCC Government, KRC and the Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development.
Dr Kidero said the county government, working with other agencies, had undertaken a number of initiatives, especially those meant to take care of the commuter needs of the estimated one million residents of outlying satellite towns who travel to and from the city centre every day. These projects are expected to supplement and provide nodal connection with the SGR line, once it comes on-stream.
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These include last year’s signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) between the national government and the governments of the five counties that make up the Nairobi Metropolitan Region: Nairobi, Kiambu, Machakos, Kajiado and Murang'a towards the eventual formation of Nairobi Metropolitan Transport Authority (NaMATA). The counties agreed to design and harness resources towards investment in five rapid bus transit lines identified though a recent study with the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure and road agencies.
Dr Kidero is elated at the business opportunities that the SGR, which is being undertaken by China Road and Bridge Construction (CRBC), has presented to residents and businesses in Nairobi County and believes these will expand once the project is commissioned.