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Metro rail set to 'ROCK' on Nehru Park-Egmore stretch

City Express visits the rocky underground portion of the Metro tunnel that was the toughest to bore. The work is expected to be completed by August The biggest challenge, say officials, was the 200-metre stretch from Blue Diamond Hotel to Egmore, for which a machine had to be imported from Singapore

Published: 28th June 2016 06:54 AM  |   Last Updated: 28th June 2016 06:54 AM   |  A+A-

CHENNAI: The 1-km underground stretch between Nehru Park and Chennai Egmore has been the toughest for Chennai Metro. It took nearly 18 months to burrow it using the tunnel boring machines.

“It was almost like burrowing through some ancient valley,” said a Metro Rail source. On Monday, City Express was exclusively allowed to visit the underground Metro Rail stretch which officials expect to finish by August. “The challenge was the 200-metre stretch from Blue Diamond Hotel till Chennai Egmore, which had boulders and rocks that were similar to that of a valley. At times, the soil was clay and at times too brittle,” explained the Metro Rail official.

The tunnel boring machine can cut boulders, but then cutting through the rock was a challenging task. The task was so difficult that Chennai Metro had to arrange a special tunnel boring machine from Singapore, which could bore through different materials. This has delayed the Package-4 from Shenoy Nagar to Egmore Metro station. Now, things are moving fast. Nearly 85% work on Metro stations — Pachaiyappas College, Kilpauk and Nehru Park have been completed.

Now, the focus is only on the architectural and electrical works at these stations. Once the work is completed by L&T, which has taken up the contract, it will be handed over to planning and business development department of Chennai Metro.

The laying of tracks on the stretch between Shenoy Nagar and Chennai Egmore too is about to finish, while the laying of tracks from Shenoy Nagar to Egmore Metro in one tunnel has been completed.

The restoration work is likely to be taken up in phases. The station is also likely to have a multi-level car parking for commuters on the land owned by Chennai Metro. Chennai Metro is in talks with the Highways Department to restore Poonamallee Road, which was badly affected due to Metro work. This could mean commuting on the congested Poonamallee High Road stretch will become easier.

The good news for Chennaites is that they can soon experience the underground stretch on Metro from Shenoy Nagar to Thirumangalam as nearly all the work has been completed “We are waiting for overhead electrification. After this, we will start the test runs, ,” said an official.

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