Chennai: Metro rail will connect a part of north Chennai with the rest of the city through underground tunnels, in less than 5 months. Chennai Metro Rail Ltd (CMRL) will complete tunneling in the 2 kilometre stretch between Washermenpet – Korukkupet before the end of September this year. Commuters will be able to travel in metro trains to north Chennai through 6 stations only in 2019.
- Construction is underway as part of the 9 kilometer phase-1 extension project between Washermenpet – Wimco Nagar.
- Boring machines have completed excavation & tunneling to about 180 metres in one of the 2 tunnels towards Korukkupet while construction of the other tunnel has just begun, CMRL officials said.
- A Metro rail official said,”By June, we will reach Theagaraya College. We hope to finish tunneling by August. But we will also give ourselves one more month. So, by September building of tunnels should be complete.”
- The 2 km long underground line has 2 stations, Theagaraya College & Korukkupet beyond which metro trains will run on an elevated corridor.
- The foundation stone for the construction of the 2 kilometer long underground stretch was laid in July 2016 by former CM, J Jayalalithaa, a month after the Centre approved the project estimated to cost Rs 3,770 crore (approx US$ 586.5 Million).
- Work on the elevated stretch will begin once a substantial part of the underground stretch is complete.
- But once completed, the extension project will give the much needed access to far flung areas of north Chennai through Metro rail.
- Though the soil quality along the stretch in north Chennai are favourable to build tunnels faster, engineers will still be slower than the usual pace of excavation, as they do not want to cause any damage to the buildings above, according to Metro rail officials.
- A geotechnical report released in 2016 following soil tests conducted along the alignment in the 9 kilometer distance showed soil conditions from Washermenpet to Wimco Nagar comprise mostly of silty sand, clay or fine sand.
- However, the tunnels will run below densely populated areas with buildings, on the arterial stretch of Thiruvottiyur High Road, which are mostly single brick walled.
- Hence, engineers are exercising caution during tunneling.