The first section of tunnelling for the Metro 3 project is expected to be completed by September, the Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation (MMRC) has said.

The tunnel boring machines (TBM) deployed at Marol Naka will reach CSIA International Airport, digging a 1.2-km-long tunnel between the two points. The two TBMs have tunnelled 806 metres, while in total, MMRC has dug over 5 km of tunnels across various sections of the corridor.

Ashwini Bhide, Managing Director, MMRC, said on Tuesday, “We are pleased to announce the completion of 5 km of tunnelling within one year of the project’s initiation. With the strong and ceaseless support from all our stakeholders, we are positive to complete the project [by] December 2021.”

Work speed to double

MMRC has eight TBMs tunnelling at four launch shafts: Azad Maidan, Naya Nagar at Mahim, Vidyanagari in Kalina, and Marol Naka. Seventeen TBMs will be deployed. According to MMRC, all TBMs have completed their Factory Acceptance Test and 15 have arrived in the city. “The lowering process of three TBMs is in progress, and by the end this month, two more will be lowered. All 17 TBMs are expected to be working by October,” an MMRC spokesperson said.

The pace of the project will more than double after all TBMs are lowered. At present, the machines are tunnelling 350 metres per week, which is expected to increase up to 800 metres per week by October. The TBMs need to bore 52 km for the up and down line of Metro 3.

The TBMs tunnelling from Azad Maidan to Grant Road have completed a little more than a kilometre of the total 4.5 km. The first set of TBMs, deployed at Mahim in November last year, has completed around 2.2 km of the 2.5-km tunnel up to Dadar Metro station. The TBMs from Kalina are tunnelling towards the domestic airport and have dug a little over a kilometre out of 2.98 km.

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