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Chennai Metro back on track

Gaurav Vivek Bhatnagar

Funds released partially for project report


  • Work will start by June 2007
  • Two corridors of 45 km planned
  • Total project cost is Rs.5, 080 crore

    NEW DELHI: The Chennai Metro project is back on track. After encountering some hurdles this January, the project is under way, as the Tamil Nadu Government has released a part of the sum agreed upon for the Detailed Project Report, which is being prepared by the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC).

    DMRC Managing Director E. Sreedharan said here last week that he has received a letter from the State Government giving the go-ahead for the preparation of the report, which is to be completed in six months.

    Efforts would be made to complete the report in just three months. "The target is to open the first section of Line I in about three years," he said.

    Mr. Sreedharan, who is behind the success of the Konkan Railway Project and the Delhi Metro Project, said subject to clearance, the work would start by June 2007.

    As per the plan, two corridors covering 45.08 km will be constructed under Phase-I. Anorth-south corridor of 31.54-km length will connect the airport to Tiruvottiyur via Guindy, Sardar Patel Road, Kottupuram High Road, Cenotaph Road, Anna Salai, Gemini, Spencers, Tarapore Towers, the Cooum river, the Rippon Building, the Central Station, Broadway (Prakasam Road) and Old Jail Road.

    This line is likely to have an 8.4-km underground stretch, of which 6.4 km will be from Jail Road to Egmore along Paraksam Street and Central Station, while a two-km underground section is proposed to be constructed near the airport.

    While the report is being prepared, there can be some design changes and some parts may be made elevated. As for the 23.1-km route, it will be an entirely elevated corridor with double elevation over Gemini Flyover, as there is no space along the side of this flyover.

    East-west corridor

    The other corridor of 13.54-km length will run from east to west. This fully elevated corridor will connect Ponnamallee High Road to Beach-Harbour and run via EVR Periyar Salai and Rajaji Road (North Beach Road), covering Koyambedu, Anna Nagar Arch, Aminjikarai, the Kilpauk Medical College, Egmore and Central Fort.

    Both the corridors will have an interchange facility at Central Station where people will be able to switch lines.

    The total cost of the project will be Rs.5,080 crore as per the April 2004 rates. As it will be a medium rail transit system capable of carrying 45,000 passengers an hour in a given direction, the cost per km will be much less than that of the Delhi Metro Project, which is a Mass Rapid Transit System.

    The cost per km of the elevated corridor of Chennai Metro will be Rs. 80 crore (Rs. 110 crore in Delhi), while that of underground sections will be Rs. 200 crore (Rs. 270 crore in Delhi). This is the finished cost, which includesthe expenditure on civil works, electrical and signalling systems and the rolling stock.

    A DMRC official said after the preparation of the report — for which approval was given at a meeting Mr. Sreedharan had with Tamil Nadu Chief Secretary L.K. Tripathi, Secretary Transport P. Shanmugam, Urban Affairs Secretary Lal Rawnasailo and the Madras Metropolitan Development Authority Member Secretary on August 14 — the State Government would seek the Centre's approval for the funding.

    While the Chennai Metro will use a standard gauge system, the Delhi Metro used the broad gauge. This will result in a reduced deck width of 9.5 metres (11 metres in Delhi), 2.88-metre-wide coaches (3.2 metres in Delhi) and 15 per cent sleeker piers.

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