Kenya Railways has confirmed the receipt of 17 bids for prequalification for the planned commuter railway link between the city and Jomo Kenyatta International Airport. The project, aimed to bring relief to airline passengers as well as commuters into and out of the city, will include additional stations though trains to and from the airport are expected to operate nonstop while other commuter trains will pick up passengers in as many as 8 stations along the route. Extending from Ruiru over Dagoretti to Embakasi Village, with a branch off to the airport, creating the first axis of a planned commuter network eventually aimed to connect other parts of the greater Nairobi metropolitan area with the city centre and sub hubs created in recent years.
Kenya Railways is now in the process to determine which of the 17 companies will be qualified for final bids but considering the heavy weights from China, Korea’s Samsung, Hyundai and POSCO corporations as well as European rail specialists are in the running, there will be tough choices to be made before a contractor is finally announced sometime next year.
Meanwhile is the highway network planned to pass around Nairobi or above Nairobi gaining shape as more and more details emerge about the intended ‘double decker’ crossing over the eternally congested city, though the fate of the ‘Southern Bypass’ hangs in the balance as an incursion into the national park was not sanctioned and the project subsequently has been halted for that section following a court case being brought.
Other cities in the region, such as Kampala and Dar es Salaam, are reportedly eyeing the developments in Nairobi with keen interest as they too are suffering from near terminal traffic arterial clogging in and out of their respective CBD’s, costing the respective economies fortunes and exposing the failures of city planners to have catered for both road and public mass transport in time.