Chennai: The Phase I project of Chennai Metro Rail is set to be completed by December 2017, according to CMRL officials. The 45 km stretch was initially started with an investment of Rs 14,000 crore, but the budget had to be increased to Rs 19,000 crore owing to various reasons.
Currently, tunnelling work along Anna Salai is rapidly taking place. The contract for underground stations from AG-DMS to Government Estate was given to L&T. Afcons Infrastructure Limited took up the contract to complete the tunnelling work in this stretch. Recently, foam erupted near Spencer’s Plaza, but officials said nothing to worry, as it was being used to soften the soil. This section includes tunnels from May Day Park to AG-DMS with stations at Government Estate, LIC, Thousand Lights. The Saidapet underground work is completed. Earlier Gammon Mosmetrostroy, a Russian company, abandoned tunneling work. This section includes stations at Teynampet, Nandanam.
The underground stretch from Egmore to Pachaiyappa’s College is also complete. Currently, track and system installation is underway. Track work has been completed from Shenoy Nagar to Pachiyappa’s College. The Shenoy Nagar to Thirumangalam station was completed in October 2015, test runs using over-head engine wagons are taking place between Thirumangalam and Anna Nagar Tower stations.
“The tunnelling work is progressing in a phased manner. Most of the underground tunnelling work is completed. Test runs are being conducted in few stations using OHE wagons. Apart from this the line from Little Mount to Chennai airport is likely to open in mid October.” said a CMRL official. CMRL officials will conduct a final safety inspection at the St. Thomas Mount station in the last week of September or in early October.
Nehru Park and Thiru Vi Ka Park which under Chennai Metro Rail Limited will run its services will only be partly restored when the operations begin. For four years the parks have been closed after construction of underground tunnelling work started in Nehru Park and Shenoy Nagar. The two stations are part of the Thirumangalam stretch. An official of Chennai Metro Rail Limited (CMRL) said, “Ancillary buildings have been built on the premises of the parks. Restoration of the park cannot be done to the entire area but a substantial area will be brought back.” Residents of the area are irked that the park will not be restored completely. Residents complain that Thiru Vi Ka park was restored at a cost 1.5 crore only a few years before CMRL took it over.
Chennai Metro Rail Limited (CMRL) will issue multi-purpose smart cards that can be used for Automatic Parking System and for small retail transactions. Also with commons cards similar to Singapore transport system, the CMRL plans to promote its travel card that can be used for travel across different modes of transport like buses, parking and taxi services. Meanwhile, works are gaining momentum on the second phase too, which will link various parts of the city.