Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Initial Glimpse :Chennai Metro Rail by 2013

Trains with four coaches may start zipping across the much-awaited Chennai Metro Rail line from Koyambedu to St Thomas Mount by the end of 2013. The Metro Rail project, Chennai’s hope of a super-fast transport network, “is going as per schedule” and work on the 13-km stretch between Koyambedu and St Thomas Mount is likely to be completed by end of 2013, according to a senior government official. “We should start operating services on the 13 km stretch in another two-and-half years,” the official said. Piers are being erected for the 4-km stretch from Koyambedu to Ashok Nagar and the 9-km line between Ashok Nagar and SIDCO Industrial estate now. Tenders for constructing stations on the stretch have been floated. The Tamil Nadu government has promised to launch the Rs 14,600-crore Metro Rail project which promises to take 13 lakh passengers every day from Washermanpet to the Meenambakkam airport within 45 minutes by 2015. With a frequency of every five to six minutes, trains will be operated on the Metro Rail. And in just one hour, 30,000 passengers are expected to be transported from Washermanpet to the airport. The Metro Rail project will operate trains on two corridors. The first corridor stretches from Washermanpet to Chennai airport via Mannadi, High Court, new Secretariat complex, Mount Road (LIC), Thousand Lights, Saidapet, Little Mount and Guindy, Alandur, OTA, Meenambakkam. While the stretch from Washermanpet to Saidapet would be an underground service, from Saidapet to Chennai airport, the trains would ply on an elevated track. The government is studying extending the project up to Thiruvottiyur in north Chennai. The second corridor traverses from Chennai Central up to Chennai airport, with halts at Egmore, Nehru Park, Kilpauk Medical College, Pachaiyappas College, Shenoy Nagar, Anna Nagar East, Anna Nagar tower, Thirumangalam, Koyambedu, CMBT, Arumbakkam, Vadapalani, Ashok Nagar, SIDCO and St Thomas Mount. From Chennai Central to Thirumangalam, the trains will speed on underground tracks and from Koyambedu to Chennai airport it would be an elevated stretch. However, with the 13-km stretch of the project between Koyambedu and St Thomas Mount now “going on schedule”, it may become partially operational by 2013, the official said. Besides financial assistance from the Central and the state government, the project is also being funded by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). The stretch from Officer’s Training Academy to airport is caught is a tangle because the Airports Authority of India (AAI) has objected to Chennai Metro Rail from constructing an elevated corridor. AAI has informed metro rail that the viaduct will obstruct the flight path of the aircraft using secondary runway. Discussions are on with the airport to settle the issue. Different options are being studied, to reduce the overall height of the viaduct, because underground tunnel is expensive and can escalate cost of the project. Contracts for design and construction of the elevated viaduct from Koyambedu to Ashok Nagar at a cost of Rs 194.20 crore have been awarded to the Hyderabad-based firm Soma Enterprise Ltd. And the Rs. 141.13 crore contract for construction of elevated viaducts, including the viaduct at stations from Ashok Nagar to St Thomas Mount, have been awarded to Larsen and Toubro. The same company has bagged the contract for the Rs 173.30 crore elevated viaducts from Saidapet to Officers Training Academy.

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