East-West Metro’s Mahakaran station in the middle of Dalhousie Square is now structurally complete. The station, starting at 24m (equivalent to eight-storey building) below the green patch next to Laldighi, is expected to witness very high footfall (around 30,000 commuters an hour during peak time), therefore, it has four openings and eight escalators as compared to most of the other stations have two openings and four escalators.
It has taken 29 months to put together the structural elements of Mahakaran station. Though physical construction (excavation) started only in September 2017, the plans have been afoot since 2015. In 2016, the design ran into trouble as the state government and the traffic police department objected to its location next to Tea Board. The cops had said the onroad positioning of the station would add to the already chaotic central business district (CBD) of the Dalhousie area.
RITES was asked to conduct a study and it recommended an off-road station to be built below the open grounds next to Laldighi, opposite Writers’ Buildings. An engineer of construction major Afcons, contracted to build Mahakaran station, said, “This Metro station is quite huge, covering 3 lakh sqft area, including the entrance structures.”
If the area of the terminal Howrah Maidan station is 2 lakh sqft, Mahakaran station is easily 1.5 times bigger. But it’s smaller than Howrah station, the country’s deepest Metro station because Howrah has an additional floor and area of 4.5 lakh sqft. Howrah station is 30m deep and has four levels. The second deepest is Esplanade Station (at 29m) also has four levels. Mahakaran station, on the other hand, has three levels, upper and lower concourses and the platform.
“The Mahakaran station has four openings,” an Afcons engineer said. One of the proposed openings is opposite Writers’ Buildings, the other in front of St Andrew’s Church and another next to Telephone Bhavan. The one in front of St Andrew’s Church is actually connected with a subway, which bifurcates to the church and to the pavement opposite Currency Building, which is the fourth opening.
“Commuters won’t have to cross the busy J L Nehru Road to access Mahakaran station. They can simply use the subway,” the engineer said. Construction of the subway has now started. The main entrance has been proposed next to Telephone Bhavan.