The 9 km metro rail line in north Chennai, which was to open for operations in June, is likely to be ready by the end of the year. The final phase of work at the site from Washermenpet to Wimco Nagar was stopped in March due the nationwide lockdown and work has resumed recently.
Efforts are also underway to import the electrical and electronic components from China and European countries that was previously stuck due to the global lockdown. A metro rail official said work on the stretch has resumed with 50% workers, which is around 1,200 people. “We are looking to get the line ready by end of this year,” the official said.
“We are also now seeing how we can bring the rest of the workers, who went to their hometowns, back,” the official added. The 9km phase-1 line, when opened, will link a part of north Chennai Washermenpet to Wimco Nagar and its neighbourhoods with the Main city through the two existing corridors operating from Washermenpet to Airport and Central to St Thomas Mount.
The north Chennai metro line, which has nine stations including three underground, in particular, will give people from far flung areas like Thiruvottiyur and Wimco Nagar an easy and quick access to transit hubs like Central station, Egmore station, CMBT bus stand and the airport.
The project had earlier received a jolt when many countries, from where equipment required for the metro line was expected to be imported, went under lockdown to control Covid spread. CMRL officials said they were expecting several components including those needed for the platform screen doors in underground stations from countries in Europe and China.
Metro rail’s contractors also began looking for an alternative. “We are now sorting out that too. We will soon receive all the equipment needed,” an official said.
CMRL has also held back floating tenders for the construction and other works required for the 118.9 km phase-2. “When we float tenders, company officials would want to visit the site before they participate in the bid. It is difficult to allow that now,” an official said.