Tunnelling work starts for Delhi Metro's Phase III

Setting the ball rolling, Delhi Metro today launched the process of boring tunnels for construction of a 3-km underground corridor aimed at decongesting the busy Rajiv Chowk station under the ambitious Phase-III project.

The Central Secretariat-Mandi House corridor that will have two stations will be ready by the end of 2014 and is expected to take most of the passenger load from the Rajiv Chowk station which sees a footfall of at least 4 lakh a day.

The tunneling machine that has been brought from German company Herrenknecht and assembled in Chennai were lowered today near Chemlsford Club in central Delhi and the tunnelling work till Janpath will be completed by June 2012.

"It is an important event of the Phase-III. The TBM was lowered today. I congratulate the entire team for this job. We will be using more than 20 Tunnel Boring Machines (TBMs) in the Phase-III which is a very safe method," DMRC Managing Director Mangu Singh told reporters at the site.

Phase-III envisages to connect another 103 km of Delhi to the Metro network by 2016. The Central Secretariat-Mandi House stretch is part of the Central Secretariat-Kashmere Gate corridor that will be integrated with the existing Badarpur-Central Secretariat Line.

Once this 3-km stretch becomes operational, Mandi House will serve as an inter-change station thus allowing passengers from Noida and Anand Vihar to come to Central Secretariat without having to go to Rajiv Chowk.

Singh said the TBMs will be used in this corridor because it passes through the Old Delhi area which has a number of old and heritage buildings. The alignment of the tunneling activities will be controlled by Tunnel and Underground Integrated Software Structure VMT-TBM Guidance System where a motorised total station is placed along the alignment and reflector is placed near to the cutter of the TBM.

The lowering of the TBM was done with a boom length of 35.6 metres at a radius of 13.5 metres and the lowering process will be completed in the next three days.
The tunelling from Central Secretariat to Janpath will cover 924 metres as two TBMs will be used for boring tunnels.

Calling the Line "sensitive", Singh said the Delhi Metro surveys the buildings under which tunnelling would be done before the start of the process and modifies the design according to the structure.

About Chinese companies being involved in Metro projects, the DMRC chief said: "We don't go by names. Only thing which matters is credentials. We go by performance only. We have a number of strict conditions which contractors will have to follow."
On reports that people experience vibration in some of the areas in Phase-III, he said such incidents have come to light in Saket and in an area on the Airport Metro Express corridor.

"There are specific points. We have consulted some people and we are formulating solutions for this. In Phase-III, we are being over cautious," Singh said. He also said the Delhi Metro will introduce eight coach trains from June this year on congested corridors and all four-coach trains would be converted into eight-coach ones.

On the increasing number of suicides at Metro stations, he said steps were being taken to sensitise Metro staff about what has to be done in such circumstances.
"We are also creating awareness among the public on this front," he said.

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