Work on longest Metro tunnel to begin soon

Gottigere Nagawara New Metroline (redline)

Namma Metro’s Phase 2 underground line between Vellara Junction and Nagavara — to be the longest such structure in the state — seems to have got a head start with officials signing contract for two packages.

The Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Limited (BMRCL) announced on its website that work on two of the four packages has been assigned to L&T Limited. The Vellara-Shivajinagar package will be built at a cost of Rs 1,329.14 crore while the cost of Shivajinagar-Tannery Road has been finalised at Rs 1,299 crore.

The previous tenders for the 13.7-km tunnel section, split into four packages, were cancelled after the lowest bidders quoted about 70% more than the estimated project cost. The re-tendering seems to have saved a lot of money. The agreement finalised on Thursday shows the cost of the two packages has gone up slightly, by about 17.5%.

Asked about the time required for starting the work on the ground, BMRCL Chief Public Relations Officer B L Yashavanth Chavan said it depends on several factors. “The contractor will have a 42-month deadline from the day of issuing the letter of interest. He has to make preliminary studies and mobilise the resources for the execution of the project,” he said.

The tenders for two more packages — Dairy Circle to Langford Town and Tannery Road to Nagawara — have March 21 as deadline for bid submission. Officials said it may take about five months for awarding the contract.

The underground section poses a big challenge as unpredictable rock formation and other geological conditions make the work difficult. Three of the four packages have two tunnel boring machines (TBM) each while the fourth one will have three machines to finish the task faster.

The cancellation of tender and re-tendering process has delayed the work by a year. Officials last year planned to reduce the tunnel section to 5 km after seeing the exorbitant cost but later returned to the original plan. With the latest bids, the corporation has ensured that it won’t get a raw deal.

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