NAIROBI, June 23 (Xinhua) -- Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta on Saturday carried out an inspection tour of phase 2A of the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) project that links the capital Nairobi to the resort town of Naivasha.
Kenyatta was accompanied by senior government officials and executives from China Communications Construction Company (CCCC) that is implementing the 120-km modern railway project.
The Kenyan leader witnessed the ongoing laying of tracks over t-beams that commenced earlier this week signaling the commitment by the contractor to finish the project ahead of schedule.
Kenyatta also witnessed the installation of Bridge Girders that are a key component of the Phase 2A of Nairobi-Naivasha Standard Gauge Railway.
Later, the president held an inter-ministerial meeting to obtain updates on the status of the SGR phase 2A project's implementation that realigns with his vision for transforming Kenya into a transport, logistics and manufacturing hub.
The phase 2A section of SGR will pass through five counties including Nairobi, Kajiado, Kiambu, Nakuru and Narok and is expected to open up Kenyan hinterland while stimulating commerce and industrialization.
It is connected to Mombasa-Nairobi SGR phase one terminus on the southern edge and will run through Nairobi National Park as its alignment turns North West towards the Rift Valley.
The modern railway line will pass through a 6-km super bridge erected inside the Nairobi National Park to minimize disturbance to iconic wildlife species.
According to Kenya Railways Corporation, the Super Bridge was considered the most ideal route option since others were found to be less viable, economically and ecologically.
"This option affirms Kenya Railways and certainly the Government's commitment to ensure there is a balance between infrastructure development and environmental conservation," Kenya Railways said in a statement.
President Kenyatta launched the Nairobi-Naivasha SGR phase 2A project on October 19, 2016 and its implementation timeline has gone down from 54 to 36 months.
A statement from CCCC said construction of three out of five railway stations are already underway along the SGR phase 2A corridor while construction of the 4.5 kilometer Ngong tunnel that is the longest in the region will be completed by August this year.
The statement said two more tunnels measuring 2.64 kilometers will also be constructed along the route.
Kenya is banking on SGR phase 2A project to facilitate the establishment of a Special Economic Zone (SEZ) near Naivasha town and hasten implementation of President Kenyatta's Big Four Agenda on manufacturing.