The deadline was July this year. But the engineers and employees of Afcons Transtonnelstroy and Kolkata Kolkata Metro Railway Corporation Ltd, the two entities implementing the East West Metro have completed boring the country’s first tunnel under the Hooghly river for establishing metro link between Howrah and Kolkata.
Rachna, a giant tunnel-boring machine (TBM), was deployed to dig the underwater tunnel that runs a length of 502 metres under the river.
Afcons Transtonnelstroy is an Indo-Russian joint venture. The machine was brought from Herrenknecht AG plant in Schwanau in Germany.
The stretch of 16.6 km will have 12 stations, six of which will be under the ground, while the remaining six stations will be on elevated tracks. The final commissioning of the project commissioning of the project is expected by December 2019, following which it will be operational.“Considering the pace at which we completed the most difficult task of creating the underwater tunnel, we hope to meet the deadline of final commissioning,” the KMRCL official said.
The total project cost is $750 million, which roughly comes to around Rs 5,000 crores. Since the beginning, the project was held up several times mainly due to land allocation, slum relocation and route alignment problems among others.
The project was originally slated to be completed by 2012. It was first postponed to 2015 and finally to December 2019.