By John Odyek
Bid documents for the construction of the 238km Malaba - Kampala Standard Gauge Railway (Phase 1) have been approved by the contracts committee of the ministry of works.
State minister for works Eng. John Byabagambi said the documents will soon be published to attract bids for the construction of the railway line estimated at sh4.4trillion. The cost excludes land compensation and resettlement costs.
The Environmental and Social Management and Monitoring Plan (ESMMP) is estimated at sh3.8b for environmental impacts and mitigation measures.
“Construction is expected to begin in October. We are looking at two mechanisms for financing the construction. The first one is Engineering Procurement Construction (EPC) where any company can put in their bids including the Chinese. The other is Africa50 Infrastructure Fund of the African Development Bank,” Byabagambi said.
EPC is a prominent form of contracting agreement where the contractor carries out the detailed engineering design of the project, procures all the equipment and materials necessary and then constracts to deliver a functioning facility to the client. The EPC contractor has to execute and deliver the project within an agreed time and budget.
Africa50 aims at mobilizing private financing to accelerate the speed of infrastructure delivery in Africa. It’s critical objective is to shorten the time between project idea and financial close from a current average of 7 years to under 3 years.
The engineering design consultants said a high speed passenger train travelling on this route from 2018 onwards at a speed of 120km/h is expected to race from Malaba to Kampala in two hours. The design speed for cargo is estimated at between 80km/h (normal freight) to 100km/h (containerized freight).
The existing Kampala to Malaba railway line is in a poor condition and a train can only be operated at low snail speed of 65km/h on it.
According to the consultants only 25% of the proposed new route is close to the existing route, the closest being 30 to 40 meters from the existing lines. It will have key new stations at Malaba, Tororo, Jinja and Kampala and other towns.
But government has plans underway to develop a metro train for Kampala city to ease traffic congestion.
In 2012 government contracted H.P Gauff Ingenieure GmbH in association with ILF Consulting Engineers and International Development Consultants to do a preliminary engineering design of the Malaba to Kampala standard gauge railway.
The draft final report was launched in Kampala last week. The next phase of the project involves getting the contractor to undertake detailed engineering designs and construction. The government is expected to undertake land compensation and resettlement of people along the proposed new lines.
The project is part of the Northern Corridor Integration Projects regional initiative to develop and operate a new, modern high capacity railway system jointly with Kenya, Rwanda and South Sudan. The proposed regional railway will run from Mombasa through Nairobi to Kampala, Kigali and Juba.