NAIVASHA, Kenya, March 26 (Xinhua) -- The Chinese contractor that is implementing the second phase of the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR Phase 2A) from capital Nairobi to resort town of Naivasha has moved in to allay fears that it could be damaged by a tremor that hit the country early this week.
A senior official from China Communications Construction Company (CCCC), the official contractor of the SGR Phase 2A project, said they had implemented new technology to enhance its safety amid tremors that caused a fault line along its railway corridor.
Steve Zhao, spokesman for CCCC said all the elements in the station buildings, such as walls and the roof, had been tied together like a giant nest to resist tremors.
"This will act as an integrated unit during earthquake shaking, transferring forces across connections and preventing separation," said Zhao.
He said that other earthquake-resistant measures incorporated in the construction of the SGR Phase 2A include building the railway track on a wider sub-grade, which is the foundation on which the track is built on.
"The sub-grade and slope in the SGR Phase 2A are relatively higher and wider in comparison to Phase 1 from Mombasa to Nairobi," Zhao told reporters.
He said that during construction of the project, the contractor determined that the safest seismic fortification to be implemented in the construction was to meet an earthquake resistance intensity of 8, in the areas between Embulbul - Ngong and Duka Moja - Narok county.
"When we began planning the construction of the SGR Phase 2A, we mobilized many seasoned geologists from the renowned China Earthquake Administration to conduct a thorough geological survey in the seismic belt along the railway line," said Zhao.
He said the railway would not be affected since the earthquake resistance intensity used in construction was set considerably higher than what is ideally recommended.
"In the unlikely event of the SGR Phase 2A corridor experiencing an earthquake similar to the 2008 Chinese Sichuan earthquake, it is guaranteed the railway line and other supporting infrastructure will not be destroyed," said Zhao.
He said that columns have also been reinforced with a high strength steel mesh that acts like a rubber band.
"This is done so that if you push the top of the column sideways as would an earthquake, the steel mesh just snaps the column back upright when you let go", said Zhao.