NAIROBI (Xinhua) --
The Chinese firm extending Kenya’s Standard Gauge
Railway (SGR) from Kenya’s Nairobi to Naivasha has said the
project will not affect the health of the country’s wildlife
heritage and other ecological treasures along its corridor.
Steve Zhao, the spokesperson for the Kenya SGR Head Office, said
sound environmental regulations will be observed during the
construction of Phase 2A of SGR which passes through a national
park and other biodiversity hotspots.
Zhao clarified that construction of the Super Bridge along
Nairobi National Park that was previously opposed by
environmental groups, was given a green light by the Kenya
Wildlife Service (KWS) and the environmental watchdog since it
posed negligible threat to animals and plants.
"We are committed to adhering to the recommendations set by
KWS in efforts to offer minimal disruption to the flora and
fauna in the national park," Zhao told Xinhua in a recent
"As for the super bridge construction organization, the
electric fence enclosure to isolate pillar sites should be
divided into two stages, in order to ensure that animals in the
park will move freely during the construction period and their
migration will not be affected," he added.
Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta in October 2016 launched the
construction of 120-km Nairobi-Naivasha SGR project financed by
Zhao said construction of the modern railway line that is
expected to open up Kenyan hinterland for businesses and
investments has progressed well and could be completed next
"The construction of the Nairobi-Naivasha SGR Phase 2A is
under various stages of completion under the respective section
offices," said Zhao, adding that the contractor is committed to
making sure the project is completed ahead of schedule.
Local and international environmental lobby groups have
opposed construction of the 6-km super bridge along Nairobi
National Park saying it could jeopardize the health of wildlife
Zhao said the contractor will implement best practices
borrowed from phase one of the SGR project to ensure the Super
Bridge does not harm iconic wildlife species at the Nairobi
"The CCCC (China Communications Construction Company)
respects the efforts of wildlife protection contributed from all
communities, institutions and organizations.
"What has been comprehensively acknowledged is that the
Wildlife Protection practices implemented during construction of
SGR Phrase 1 is effective," said Zhao.
He added that the contractor will strictly adhere to
guidelines set by the KWS and the environmental watchdog to
ensure the super bridge causes minimal disturbance to the soil,
vegetation and animals.
"After the erection of the super bridge pillars is finalized,
the SGR line over the national park will be fitted with an
acoustic noise barrier whose specifications will be approved by
the KWS to ensure that the noise do not increase significantly
above the baseline levels," said Zhao.
He disclosed that the contractor will embark on vegetation
and soil restoration along the super bridge corridor once it is
"We have also worked with the KWS to screen the construction
equipment to avoid the spread of invasive species such as
Nicotiana glauca seeds attached to road construction machinery,"
He added that adherence to globally accepted environmental
standards will be extended to the escarpments and other scenic
landscapes where the Nairobi-Naivasha SGR project will pass
Nairobi National Park boasts a large and varied wildlife