BENGALURU: After 397 days of tunnelling through the underground stretch between Kempegowda and Sampige Metro Stations, Tunnel Boring Machine (TBM) Margarita finally emerged at the ground level around 5.10 pm on Saturday.
The completion of tunnelling on this 955-metre stretch marks a crucial step towards completing Phase-I of Namma Metro.
Bursting of crackers, whistles and constant clicking of photos marked the emergence of the Japanese-made TBM after it crackled through a hard surface in front of the Krishna Flour Mill on Platform Road. It began breaking through at 4.30 pm and completed it around 5.10 pm. Margarita was introduced into the tunnel on October 6, 2014 to ensure the tunnelling work continued after TBM Godavari broke down.
“Margarita’s completion of tunnelling will help us link Peenya Metro Station with Majestic underground station (Kempegowda). One line to connect the North-South corridor can be put into place. This will take us closer to starting of trial runs for Phase-I in February or March 2016,” said Pradeep Singh Kharola, Managing Director of Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Limited (BMRCL).
The MD also said that trial runs with trains running at a speed of 80 kms per hour will be held between Cubbon Road and Kempegowda Metro Station (East-West Corridor).
On the immediate steps to follow, a top Metro official said Margarita will now have to be dismantled. “This would take around two months. Laying of rail lines will begin after that.”
The South tunnel of the North-South corridor between Nagasandra and Puttenahalli is now completed. When the other TBM Kavery, burrowing in the opposite direction, completes its remaining 200 metres, trains from Kempegowda to Jayanagar Metro stations can also be run, the official added.
Compensation for Cracked Houses
Kharola assured that Metro would take full responsibility to ensure that families whose houses have suffered damages due to tunnelling work are adequately compensated. “After the tunnelling work is over, we will ensure that repairs of houses are done and the affected families are well compensated.”
It may be recalled that the TBM Kavery had created huge cracks in houses in Balepet area when tunnelling under Chikpet area on November 4. “Kavery machine is on but the tunnelling work has been temporarily stopped,” the MD added.
Metro had done a survey of buildings that could get affected even before the tunnelling work was started, the MD said. “It is only houses with a weak foundation that have suffered. We gave adequate warnings in advance to them,” he claimed. It was a difficult job for the TBM to drill through.
‘Reach-2 Will Start Within 10 Days’
The much awaited Magadi Road-Mysore Road stretch (6.4 kms) will be declared open to the public within ten days, said Kharola. “Rail safety inspections are over and everything that has to be done from our side is completed. We are now waiting for dates to be given from the Central and state governments for the inauguration,” he said. It may be recalled that the Rail Safety Commissioner had given the green signal for starting services on this elevated west line on September 19. The non-launch of services has remained a mystery. This stretch will cover Magadi Road, Hosahalli, Vijayanagar, Attiguppe, Deepanjali Nagar and Mysore Road stations.