A ride through Metro curves carved under ground not too far

Civil works paced up

A ride through Metro curves carved under ground not too far

For Bengalureans looking to take that long-distance Metro ride, the wait seems to be getting lesser.

The BMRCL has already opened the 6.5-km MG Road-Baiyappanahalli and the Sampige-Road-Peenya Industry stretches for the public. But the complete Metro  experience has eluded for long, with the full network of Metro rail still to become operational.

However, a visit to three underground metro stations in the central business district gives an impression that at last the work is nearing completion and relief may be in sight for Bengaluru’s commuters harried by the choked roads.

What is noteworthy is the fact that the Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Limited (BMRCL) has achieved the tunneling work, without a single public property being damaged when the blasts were undertaken.

With work nearing completion, it provides engineering students an opportunity to study the technologies involved. 

The civil work has almost been completed at all the three stations - Cubbon Park station near Minsk Square, Vidhana Soudha station and Sir M Visvesvaraya station opposite Central College. With tunneling work being completed, the tracks are being laid in these stations.

Escalators have already been fixed, AC ducts are being installed and electrical wiring is going on at brisk pace. The deadline for completing the civil work is May. Later, trains will start rolling on the tracks for safety inspections. This may go on for a couple of months, before the stations open for the public. These days, no officer of the BMRCL likes to answer questions regarding the missed deadlines, but only talks about the May-June deadline.

3 underground stations
Once the three underground stations are ready, it would add another 2.5 km to the MG-Road-Baiyappanahalli stretch. It is still going to be a long way to complete the Kempegowda station, the intersection for change of routes.

However, civil work at the Metro station at the City Railway Station is almost ready. The work on these stations had begun in 2010-11.

The toughest task was to go 60 feet under the road surface, do the drilling work and lay tracks at these three stations. Not less than 4,000 blasts have been carried for each station for the tunnelling purpose.

BMRCL had kept every property around these stations under the monitoring of the tilt meter, to check for even the minutest tilt. Hardly any deviation was recorded, said Subrahmanya, deputy chief engineer, BMRCL, who is in charge of underground section II.

Tough taskNot a single blast was done in his absence. The blasts were carried out at midnight or early morning so that no one is disturbed. Ask the engineer as to what was the biggest challenge he faced while tunnelling was, he says, “Doing the work without any flaw near Vidhana Soudha and the High Court buildings were difficult tasks indeed. If there was sufficient time, I would have carved out the stations in rocks, instead of drilling rocks for constructing the stations.”

For each of the stations, about 15,000 sq mt of land has been acquired and not less than 13 contractors have been roped in. The stations have two levels - the reception area and platform. An additional two levels are for services and storage of water/seepage, which are restricted areas for the public.

U A Vasanth Rao, General Manager, Finance and Chief Public Relations Officer, says that for each km of the tunnel, Rs 325 crore to Rs 375 crore has been spent and this is inclusive of building stations. The cost for each station is not less than Rs 125 crore, he added.

The BMRCL is now talking confidently only about short-term goals and not the long-term ones. It is now thinking in terms of opening each of the stations for the public, as and when they are ready.

BMRCL is going to provide seamless connectivity for cellphone use in the underground stations. The seamless transition system helps cellphone handsets to automatically connect to any public wi-fi system. Tenders will be invited for the purpose soon.
Student visits

BMRCL is all set to allow engineering college students to visit the underground metro stations, as it will be a great learning experience for them. The five-day study will see audio-visual presentation by senior engineers of BMRCL regarding the work being done.

Vasanth Rao said, “Be it mechanical, electrical or civil work, students will get an exposure. They will be allowed to walk in the tunnel area. This would not be possible once the trains start rolling. Some engineering colleges have tied up with us for the site visits. For the five-day course, Rs 2,500 will be collected from each student. Certificates will be given to the participants.”

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