Chennai Metro – February 2016 Tunneling Update

The Chennai Metro Rail Ltd just published their January 2016 newsletter with in-depth tunneling data recorded up till January 31 from all 5 ongoing tunnel sections of the first phase of the project! The images within this edition of the newsletter are extremely tiny, so I’ll be skipping over them this month. If you’re curious to see what they are like, check out the above link.

Photo Copyright: Jurgen Mick

A Chennai Metro tunnel on the UAA01 section – Photo Copyright: Jurgen Mick

Tunneling Update

For reference, here’s a map with all 6 underground sections of the 1st phase of the Chennai Metro project. Of these, barring UAA08 (in yellow) that was just approved, the rest are ongoing. The elevated and cut & cover sections of the project have been marked in grey.

Red: UAA01 ; Blue: UAA02; Green: UAA03

Chennai Metro Map: Red: UAA01, Green: UAA02, Magenta: UAA03, Blue: UAA04, Purple:UAA05, Grey: Elevated & CC

UAA01 – In Progress

• This section includes tunnels from Washermenpet to Egmore and from May Day Park to Central with stations at Egmore, Chennai Central, May Day Park, High Court, Mannadi & Washermenpet.
• Tunneling by the Afcons-Transtonnelstroy JV between Washermenpet & High Court was completed in 2014.
• A total of 4 tunnels are now left to be constructed between Egmore – Central – High Court stations. The progress of tunneling can be gauged by the table below.

Tunnel Station Station Distance Dec 31 Jan 31 TBMs
Up-line Washermenpet Egmore 4445m 3179m 3218m 2
Down-line Washermenpet Egmore 4445m 3085m 3140m 2

• Since the January update, 1 TBM breakthrough has taken place at Central station for Line 1’s down-line tunnel between May Day Park shaft and Central station. Although the CMRL did not highlight this breakthrough, it has updated its tunneling table to reflect 100% completion for this tunnel.

• A TBM on the up-line tunnel was launched from Egmore towards Central in December. Another TBM for the down-line is expected to be launched from Egmore by the end of this month. Check out some images of both TBMs being prepared.

• Both TBMs working from the High Court towards Central station have encountered hard rock and need frequent interventions to change their cutting discs. The contractor is looking to complete both twin tunnels by June 2016.

UAA02 – On Hold

• This section includes tunnels from May Day Park to AG-DMS with stations at Government Estate, LIC, Thousand Lights and AG-DMS.

• The Gammon-Mosmetrostroy JV had abandoned tunneling work in May 2015 and out of 3616m of twin tunnels, it has only completed building 1835m and 1700m long tunnels.

• The CMRL has since twice invited tenders from infrastructure companies and expects to award the contract for completing the balance tunneling and station work by the end of this month.

UAA03 – Complete

• This section includes tunnels from AG-DMS to Saidapet with stations at Teynampet, Nadanam and Saidapet.

• The Gammon-Mosmetrostroy JV had abandoned tunneling work in May after which Afcons Infra was temporarily roped in to complete the last breakthrough in September. Recently, L&T was tasked with completing the balance civil work at all stations.

UAA04 – Complete

• This section includes tunnels from Egmore to Shenoy Nagar with stations at Nehru Park, Kilpauk and Pachaiyappa’s College. Tunneling work by the L&T-SUCG JV has been completed and currently track work & systems installation work is going on.

UAA05 – Complete

• This section includes tunnels from Shenoy Nagar to Thirumangalam with stations at Shenoy Nagar, Anna Nagar East, Anna Nagar Tower and Thirumangalam. Tunneling work by the Afcons-Transtonnelstroy JV has been completed and trial runs are expected to begin by May. In October 2015, the CMRL had used an OHE wagon to conduct a trial run between the 2 km Thirumangalam Ramp and Anna Nagar Tower stations.

UAA08 – Yet to Begin

In December 2015, the CMRL invited tenders to construct this 2.4 km underground section from Washermenpet to Korrukupet with stations at Sir Theagaraya College and Korrukupet. This section is part of the 9 km extension from Washermenpet to Wimco Nagar that was approved by the Ministry of Urban Development in early December 2015. The bids were opened on February 4 and a contractor is expected to be assigned by the end of this month. I expect ground work to start in Q2 2016 and tunneling work to commence in Q1 2017, with operations on the entire 9 km extension starting in 2020.

Overall, the project slowed down considerably last year due to the fiasco involving Gammon-Mosmetrostroy and the crazy rains of November and December that now requires a redesign at certain places. I expect tunneling work to pick up pace in Q2 with a new contractor assigned to finish UAA-02’s balance work. By that time, tunneling by the 2nd TBM for the down-line between Egmore and Central would also have made substantial progress.

On the operations side of things, with tunneling work completed on UAA-04 and UAA-05, the CMRL plans to start trial runs between Thirumangalam and Shenoy Nagar in May and later extend it to Nehru Park, a total distance of 8 km . This section along with the Airport – Saidapet (10 km) and Alandur to St. Thomas Mount (1.5 km) are all set to start operations by the end of this year which will add 19.5 km of metro routes to the existing 10 km route between Koyambedu and Alandur.

For more updates on Chennai’s metro, check out the Chennai section of The Metro Rail Guy!


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