City’s first underground Metro rail service, the Colaba-Bandra-SEEPZ stretch, will be ready for test rides by January 2018. Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation’s Director (Projects) Subodh Gupta said Thursday test rides along the 33.5-kilometre Metro 3 route would be conducted from January, and the project was on track for a 2020 rollout. Gupta said the work on building the tunnel for the underground service would start in October. Digging activity for the tunnel work and the 27 Metro stations to be built under the project has already started.
Senior MMRC officials said the agency had identified land parcels near the Churchgate railway station, Mahalaxmi, Bandra-Kurla Complex, and the international airport to kickstart the tunnel building work. On Thursday, the MMRC organised a media trip to showcase the work it has carried out so far. Interacting with mediapersons during the trip, Gupta identified diversion of a drainage system near Worli as the most challenging task for the MMRC.
“The drain is 3 metre long and 9 metre wide. We will have to divert it as it comes in the alignment of the (proposed) Science Museum Metro station.” While Gupta admitted that the drain diversion work could lead to some traffic snarls and “minor inconveniences” to people, he said it was all for the greater good of the city. “It’ll ultimately lead to lesser traffic in the future,” said Gupta.
Speaking to The Indian Express on the issue, Deputy Commis-sioner of Police (Traffic) Ashok Dudhe, when contacted, said, “The required arrangements for handling the traffic are in place.”
Gupta said the plan was to relocate the drain to the opposite side of the road. A car deck is also proposed on the opposite side for smooth traffic flow. The MMRC has said it is importing six boring machines from China for the tunnelling work. An alternate boring technique would be used for Metro rail portions near Cuffe Parade and BKC due to seismic zone restrictions, Gupta said, adding that the alternate method was more expensive and slower.
Countering allegations that there could be flooding in the underground rail system during rains, Gupta said the entire system would be waterproof. “An efficient drainage system will be installed to ensure that the stations and rail tracks don’t flood,” he said. The project will employ over 3,000 people.