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SGR builder turns to high-tech in tricky Rift Valley terrain

Duka Moja
The 557.8 metre long Murua Olkondi super bridge at Duka Moja. PHOTO | GEORGE SAYAGI 

China Communications Construction Company (CCCC) is using new bridge building technology to traverse the complex Rift Valley terrain as it builds the 120 kilometre stretch of the Nairobi-Naivasha standard gauge railway.

Speaking during a media familiarisation tour of Section 5 and 6 of the modern railway project in Suswa and Duka Moja, Public Relations Assistant Manager Jasper Liu said bridges will be built using China’s basket technology. The bridges will stand on concrete pedestals rising as high as 58 metres high.

The line will go over cliffs and into four tunnels covering 7.756 kilometres dug through Ngong Hills. The line is funded by Exim-Bank of China at a cost Sh150 billion and has nine super long bridges.

The project will have 27 bridges covering 17.3 kilometres, which is 14.4 per cent of total project length. Six per cent of the line will consist three tunnels totalling 7.14 kilometres. The Duka Moja bridge will connect Phase 2A with Phase 2B of the project from Naivasha to Kisumu that will cost Sh350 billion, the bulk of which is expected to be financed through loans from Exim Bank of China.

Mr Liu said that after comparing many techniques of building the bridge, CCCC selected the hanging basket construction technique which is popular among Chinese bridge builders.

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“In bridge construction, the hanging basket is a very important construction tool. The components include the hanging system, travelling system, bearing structure, anchor unit and operation platform,” said Mr Liu.

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