Colaba-SEEPZ Metro 3 line: First phase of 12.44 km between BKC & Aarey to be commissioned by May

Mumbai, March 15 (IANS) The wait is over for the Mumbaikars to take the underground metro ride. The first phase of the 12.44 km route between BKC and Aarey Colony of the total 33.5 km Colaba SEEPZ Metro 3 will be commissioned in May while the rest is by the end of December 2024.

The entire stretch of 33.5 km Metro 3 will be operational by the end of this year.

The Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation Limited (MMRCL), which is a joint venture of the Central Government and the Government of Maharashtra, said that the Metro 3 will propel Mumbai into the league of other big cities in the world having a futuristic mass transport network.

This will be yet another major transport infrastructure project after the Mumbai Trans Harbour Link and Mumbai Coastal Road that will be used by the Mumbaikars for smooth, pollution-free and traffic-free commuting.

The project has been running behind schedule due to the controversy over the establishment of Metro 3 car depot at Aarey Colony and later because of the lockdown during the coronavirus pandemic.

“Mumbai Metro Line-3 (Colaba-Bandra-SEEPZ) is the first and only fully underground metro proposed for Mumbai. Metro-3 is a key project to improve and facilitate transportation in the city of opportunities. Once operational, Metro-3 will cater to 17 lakh passengers daily with an unfailing frequency of 3-4 minutes, ferrying approximately 2,500 passengers at a time,” said an MMRC spokesperson.

The Metro 3 project entails a total investment of Rs 37,000 crore of which 57 per cent is loan from Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) while the balance comprises equity from both the Centre and the state government, sub debt, contribution of Rs 777 crore by Mumbai International Airport Ltd (MIAL) and proceeds from the property development.

The commute from Cuffe Parade to Aarey Colony would be within an hour.

It will have connectivity to 6 major business and employment centres including Nariman Point, Cuffe Parade, Fort, Lower Parel, BKC and SEEPZ/MIDC.

Besides, it will have easy access to over 30 educational institutes, 13 hospitals, 14 religious places and over 30 recreational facilities.

Metro-3 will provide connectivity to the areas hitherto not connected with suburban rail like Kalbadevi, Girgaon, Worli, International and Domestic Airports and integrate with other Metros, Monorail, Suburban Rail and state transport bus services, and also reduce congestion on suburban railways by 15 per cent.

“The economic benefits will come in the form of an economic internal rate of return (EIRR) of 17.95 per cent and huge employment and business opportunities,” said the spokesperson.

The MMRC has projected that Metro 3 will lead to a reduction in vehicular trips by 6.65 lakh/day by 2031, cutting fuel consumption by 3.54 lakh litre per day.

Additionally, the corridor will reduce 2.61 lakh tonnes CO2 emissions per annum and decrease traffic on the road by 35 per cent.

An MMRC spokesperson said various challenges were faced in the construction of Metro-3 such as tunnelling in complicated geology and below old, dilapidated buildings around congested neighbourhoods and in close vicinity of heritage buildings.

Also, certain limits for vibrations have to be maintained and continuously monitored while tunnelling to ensure the safety of such buildings in the vicinity of the station area surrounded by historical structures.

For the first time, 17 tunnel boring machines (TBM) worked simultaneously for an underground metro project.

MMRC also achieved the First Twin tunnel breakthrough of line-3, and third in the country.

“The most daunting task was tunnelling beneath the difficult geology of the Mithi river. However, the teams of experts and engineers have surmounted such challenges by using the latest technical knowhow and engineering expertise.

The MMRC has successfully completed 3-km (up and down line) tunnelling by TBM from BKC to Dharavi — out of the total 3-km stretch from BKC to Dharavi, 484-meter tunnel lies below the active Mithi river channel.

Tunnelling below the existing Metro line at Marol Naka, Western Express Highway at Santacruz, heritage precinct at Hutatma Chowk were equally challenging, an MMRC official said.



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