Two tunnel-boring machines, digging the underground tunnels for the Pune Metro rail project, are on the verge of reaching Kasba Peth. Kasba Peth is the site of the Budhwar Peth station, one of five on the 5km Shivajinagar to Swargate underground stretch, which falls on the PCMC to Swargate corridor. Officials from Maharashtra Metro Rail Corporation Limited (MahaMetro), the agency executing the project, said the two machines have crossed the Mutha river at a depth of 25 metres and would reach the Kasba Peth site in the next few days.
Officials said the machines, which started excavating from Civil Court, had crossed the river last month. MahaMetro said the two machines have excavated tunnels that were a kilometre long. “The tunnelling work has not run into any hurdles so far as the machines were excavating through uncut basalt rock,” an official said, adding, “The work is progressing towards Budhwar Peth at the expected pace.” The Civil Court interchange station is located around 30 metres underground, while the station at Kasba Peth is five metres higher. MahaMetro has already started the work on both the Civil Court and Kasba Peth stations.
The MahaMetro officials said work on tunnelling and construction of the stations has been compartmentalized. “This is to ensure that the work is executed faster. The tunnelling work has continued even when work on the stations has yet to be completed. Tunnels are already passing through the locations of both the stations. A similar plan is being executed for the Mandai and Swargate stations,” the official added.
After Kasba Peth station, the machines will dig the tunnels towards Mandai. Swargate is the culminating station on the underground stretch. MahaMetro has introduced a third tunnel boring machine, from the Swargate-end towards Mandai. Officials said they were now working to complete the remaining tunnelling work. The plan is to extract all machines at Mandai, once the tunnels are ready, the official said. Meanwhile, MahaMetro has also started work on a short passage connecting both tunnels at the Shivajinagar-Civil Court location. “The passage will be used to move from one tunnel to another in emergency situations. The provision is among safety measures planned as part of the Metro project,” another official said.