The tunnel-boring machines (TBMs) excavating the underground Metro route from College of Agriculture are getting closer to the site of the Civil Court interchange station, officials said on Monday (24th August 2020).
Since the excavation began last December and factoring in the forced break due to the Covid-19 lockdown, one TBM have excavated a 1.5kmlong tunnel, and officials said it should reach the Civil Court site in a few days.
The Maharashtra Metro Rail Corporation Limited (MahaMetro) initiated the excavation of two parallel tunnels in phases. Officials said nearly half the excavation of both tunnels has been completed.
“The work has been proceeding at a fast pace after workers returned in the beginning of Unlock phase 1,” an official said. Another MahaMetro official said the TBMs were operated only in one shift in the initial stages of the lockdown due to unavailability of workers. Now that workers are back, the machines are being operated in two shifts.
“One machine has covered 1.5km, while the other has excavated 1km,” the official said. This section is a part of the Pimpri-Swargate Metro corridor. The route is elevated from Pimpri to Range Hills and will subsequently go underground till Swargate. The first station in the underground stretch is Shivajinagar.
“Both TBMs have crossed the site of the Shivajinagar station and are now headed towards the Civil Court station. The tunnel will take the Simla Office Chowk-CoEP ground-Civil Court route,” an official said, adding that there was no surface-level disruptions as the tunnels were 20 metres underground.
“We have also started work from Swargate towards Budhwar Peth. The TBMs from both ends will meet at Budhwar Peth,” another official said. After the Civil Court station, the TBM will dig a tunnel under the Mutha river and reach Budhwar Peth.
MahaMetro said that it has started planning for the crossing of the river. Apart from tunnelling work, the MahaMetro has also started work on Shivajinagar and Civil Court underground stations. “The work of tunneldigging and construction of underground stations is progressing simultaneously,” the official added.