Kicking off tunnelling activity of the city’s longest underground Metro section between Dairy Circle and Nagawara (14km), the first tunnel boring machine (TBM) has been lowered below Madina Masjid ground at Bamboo Bazaar near Cantonment. This section is part of the Gottigere-Nagawara (Pink Line corridor).
Construction company L&T Ltd, after winning the Rs 2,628-crore bid to construct the 6-km underground Metro project from Namma Metro, had placed orders with the global firm China Railway Construction Heavy Industry Corporation Limited (CRCHIC) to manufacture four TBMs. While two of them have reached Bengaluru, the other two have arrived at Chennai port and are being transported to Bengaluru.
Sources in the BMRCL said that the two Chinese nationals working for (CRCHIC), who had flown to India much before the ban was in place to contain the spread of Coronavirus, helped the contractor L&T Ltd
in assembling the parts of one TBM. The parts of another TBM, which is already parked at Shivajinagar, will be assembled next.
Other two TBMs, expected to arrive from Chennai port will be lowered, at Shivajinagar and Cantonment, to tunnel parallelly. Officials confirmed that the two TBMs to be commissioned at Bamboo Bazaar will tunnel towards Shivajinagar. It will be dismantled at Shivajinagar and lowered again at Bamboo Bazaar to tunnel towards Tannery Road.
While the BMRCL may not suffer any issues in assembling the four TBMs as and when they come to the City, the officials and the contractors are expected to face problems in terms of delay for commissioning the
“The TBMs can be commissioned with the help of a software that requires the expertise of CRCHIC, which manufactured the TBM. One personnel from China was expected to come but the travel has been postponed until the spread of Coronavirus is contained,” a senior BMRCL official said.
“The plan of tunnelling is a bit behind schedule. We are expecting two more TBMs to reach the city soon. There is a bit of an issue as people from China are unable to come. We need some technical expertise and we will find a way,” Ajay Seth, Managing Director at BMRCL, said.
Officials said the assembly of TBM, which was lowered at Bamboo Bazaar on Tuesday, will be completed by the end of April. “We are targeting to commission it as early as possible. We heard that the factory, where the TBM was manufactured, has resumed operations. Even the spread of Coronavirus is said to be totally contained in China,” another official said.