Namma Metro: Tunnel boring machine emerges at Shivajinagar

Namma Metro workers celebrate as Urja, a tunnel boring machine, completed work on a 850-metre stretch to emerge at what will eventually become Shivajinagar underground metro station, on September 22, 2021.   | Photo Credit: K. MURALI KUMAR

The tunnel boring machine (TBM) Urja emerged at Shivajinagar on Wednesday morning after covering a distance of 855 metres. Jubilant metro workers who have been part of the tunnel work for over a year cheered loudly as the head of the TBM emerged at the under-construction Shivajinagar underground station on the Pink Line from Kalenga Agrahara to Nagawara.

Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai and his Cabinet colleagues were present to witness the achievement.

Urja, which was imported from China and costs around ₹70 crore, started its underground journey at Cantonment metro station site in July 2020. It spent more than a year digging a tunnel below one of the oldest settlements of Bengaluru. Of the nine TBMs deployed for the underground section of the Pink Line, it is the first to achieve a breakthrough.

Now that the TBM has completed this stretch, it will be disassembled and transported by road to the launching shaft at north end of Cantonment station where it will be reassembled and commissioned to dig a tunnel between Cantonment and Pottery Town stations.

Namma Metro: Tunnel boring machine emerges at Shivajinagar

Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Ltd. (BMRCL) managing director Anjum Parwez told mediapersons that Vindhya, another TBM working on a parallel tunnel, would emerge at Shivajinagar in 20 days. Vindhya has already drilled a distance of 693 metres.

He thanked residents of the area for their support during the tunnel work. In August, the BMRCL had to evacuate residents after slurry had gushed inside houses opposite the Government V.K.O. School.

Rohith Supali, assistant safety manager of tunnel work, said, “The machine faced many challenges due to rough geological conditions. It encountered hard rock as well as loose soil. The overburden (the distance between tunnel and the surface) ranged from nine to 11 metres. By following all safety measures, Urja successfully completed the task.” The TBM was on the job round the clock along with 120 workers assigned on site every day on a shift basis.

Mr. Supali added that due to the pandemic, pace of tunnel work slowed for over three months last year but picked up gradually. “But by following all safety protocols we completed the task. We are happy with what we have achieved.”

All the nine TBMs deployed by the BMRCL have together completed tunnelling of 3.842 km. Mr. Parwez said that every day up to 40 metres of tunnels were being built by the TBMs. “All possible measures will be taken to advance completion of tunnel work,” he said. All the nine TBMs deployed would tunnel a distance of 21.246 km (parallel network).

The MD said the contract for the airport metro line from K.R. Puram to KIA would be awarded by October-end. “An NOC has been received to construct a metro near Government Flying Training School at Jakkur,” he said.

In his address to the media, the Chief Minister reiterated that he had asked BMRCL officials to advance the deadline for completion of phase II of metro project from 2025 to 2024 and then take up phase III.

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Printable version | Oct 27, 2021 12:43:25 PM |

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