Metro first line hinges on Andheri bridge


By Chittaranjan Tembhekar

Although the civil construction work for Mumbai’s metro rail is moving at a snail’s pace at a few locations due to acquisition and right of way (ROW) issues, it appears to be inching closer to the finishing line.

Acquisition and ROW issues normally create a roadblock in not just the structure of a project, but also the space required for the work.

All the 1,668 piles dug up to build 456 pillars along the 12-kilometre metro rail track are ready. Of the 456 pillars above these piles, only 54 are remaining . Pillar structures are considered crucial as once they are ready, placing of U-shaped girders atop them (it is girders that host tracks and trains) can be speeded up. Of the total 766 girders, 530 have been launched above the pillars and 121 are ready at the workshop. Similarly, more than 70% of the work on 12 stations is complete as most of the station structures have already come up to the platform level.

Sources at the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA), though, told TOI that six pillars between Navrang theatre and S V Road on J P Road are not yet complete. This is because the required space for construction is not available on the narrow stretch of the road, said officials. Girders here have, therefore, been redesigned by the Mumbai Metro One Private Ltd (MMOPL) to pace up the work. Civil works for the viaduct and the stations as well as the D N Nagar depot are expected to be complete by May 2012.

On another large stretch of the line, between Asalpha and Jagruti Nagar stations, around 14 pillars are facing hurdles posed by underground utilities as well as lack of traffic permissions. Similarly, the three to four pillars needed to build the Asalpha station near Maheshwar temple are stuck as certain portion of the temple land is to be acquired. Construction of three to four pillars near Sarvoday Hospital in Ghatkopar, where the metro’s last station will come up, too is faced with the acquisition row between the MMRDA and the property owners.

The MMRDA commissioner Rahul Asthana said, “We are hopeful that all these works would be complete within the rescheduled deadline of August 2012, although they are being delayed due to some reason or the other. MMOPL teams and MMRDA are working hard to resolve the acquisition and ROW disputes with the concerned authorities and property owners. I am sure these issues will not delay the commissioning of the metro.” Asthana added that the Asalpha station may not be ready in time.

It may be recalled that even the construction of cable-stay bridge above the Jog flyover on the Western Express Highway is critical due to the huge traffic. Pillars for this bridge along the flyover have already come up. Similarly, construction is on for a few pillars between WEH and Chakala stations besides a few towards the Saki Naka station. “We hope to complete this bridge and a few pillars within the set timeframe ,” said MMRDA spokesman Dilip Kawathkar. According to Kawathkar, the viaduct and station construction works will meet the new deadline.

The Train

Around 16 trains with four to six coaches each will ferry around 25,000 passengers in a single direction during peak hours and reduce travel time from Versova to Ghatkopar to 21 minutes from the present minimum 90 minutes. Air-conditioned coaches have seating along windows with most of the space left for standing passengers.

LCD screens, 3D route maps, first-aid , blackbox , fire fighting equipments, facility to interact with motormen will be the specaialities of the metro which will offer noiseless and vibration-proof travel. Emergency evacuation is also available.