More than 10 years after work commenced, the 42-km long phase I of Bengaluru Metro is ready to begin full- fledged operation. The phase 1, called the Namma Metro, will be thrown open to the public on Sunday after a formal dedication to the nation by President Pranab Mukherjee on Saturday.
The first phase of the metro rail project, which was initiated in 2005, has reached completion after missing several deadlines.
The first phase of the project comprises two lines — an 18-km east-west stretch and a 24-km north-south stretch. It was originally scheduled to be completed by March 2015. Slow progress in tunneling work on a 8-km underground stretch in the heart of the city has been blamed for the delay in completion of the project.
A 6.7-km overhead stretch on the east-west purple line in the central business district was opened to the public in October 2011. Subsequently, small stretches were opened for public use in March 2014, May 2015, November 2015 and in April 2016. On Saturday, the President’s inauguration of a 12-km stretch on the north-south green line, connecting Sampige Road and Yelachenahalli, will mark the completion of phase 1. The first phase comprises a 33.48-km elevated section and a 8.82-km underground section. There are a total of 40 stations, 33 elevated and seven underground, and the maximum travel time on any stretch is 44 minutes.
The cost for the phase I had escalated from the initial projection of Rs 11,600 crore to Rs 14,200 crore.
According to Bengaluru Metro Rail Corporation Limited, over five lakh people are expected to use the metro daily after the commercial operations begin. The metro is expected to reduce traffic woes on city streets.
Work on the second phase of the metro, comprising 61 stations and spread over 72.10 km, has already begun.