The decision for the Standard Gauge Railway; Naivasha route path to pass over Nairobi National Park by a bridge is more practical than the earlier on discussed; across it. Dr. Richard Leakey, KWS chairman was in full support of the decision to build a bridge over the park as it is most feasible out of the other seven options. However much the proposal is being disputed upon, on a reality basis it is the best option.
Main opposition was because of coexistence of the Nairobi National Park and Standard Gauge Railway on the same space. Conservationists and environmentalists argued that animals would be displaced and through that it would increase human-animal conflict. They argued the Government was in away insinuating the non-importance of the park rendering from the move and that the land was free for acquisition.
If the opposition was allowed, costs of the construction would increase and its implication would highly affect the economy and taxpayers so as to incur the costs. Tax would greatly increase and thus the living standard would be expensive.
Apart from The Modified Savannah route which is a bridge across the Park, the other options were;
- Savannah route
- Kibera route
- Magadi Road route-Langata Forest
- Upper South East route
- Lower South East route
- Athi River route
In the case of either of the routes being agreed upon it would increase the cost. Approximately additional Sh 200 million would be required to cater for the construction costs. 50 hectares would also be needed from the Nairobi National Park.
When the Environmental and Social Impact Assessment seeking to give answers to queries accorded to the bridge is complete, the building of the bridge will begin. The assessment is estimated to take two and a half months.
Benefits of the crossing of the bridge through The Nairobi National Park
-It will reduce the distance covered if another alternative was chosen.
-It will reduce the cost that would have been incurred.
-It will reduce on the time that would have been used on the construction.
-The wildlife will be protected.
The Standard Gauge Railway will pass on the bridge in a single line covering a width of 6KM.The height of the bridge above the ground will be 18 metres -8 metres at the entrance into the northern side of Nairobi National Park and 41metres at the exit on the southern side of the park.
Regulation of noise will be very vital and thus noise deflectors will be installed to reduce on the impact of noise from the passing trains. Ground vibration can affect the behavior of the animals and even instill fear thus bridge pillar foundations will be dug deeply into the ground to reduce the vibrations. The environment will blend with the colours of the bridge so as not to affect the beauty of nature. The Managing Director of Kenya Railways, Engineer Atanas Maina confirmed all this.
This phase of the Standard Gauge Railway Bridge is approximated to take 1 and ½ years with its commencing on January 2017. The time estimated for the construction is on the higher side (on a normal estimate it would take 6 months) so as to reduce on the interference with the animals.