In a landmark event for the city, the drilling of India’s first urban tunnel — a part of the ambitious Eastern Freeway Project — is set to be completed by August-end.
As part of the project, 500-metre twin tunnels are being built by blasting through 120-metre high mountains near the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC). The twin tunnels are the country’s first tunnel systems to be built within city limits for urban transport. The drilling work for one of the two tunnels is nearly complete.
“Only 40 metres of rock need to be excavated. We will be able to complete the work by the end of August, so that daylight can be seen in the tunnel,” said a senior Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) official involved with the project.
Once the tunnels are dug up, the inside portion will have to be encased with a concrete lining to strengthen the structure.
MMRDA officials hope to throw open one tunnel by December, while the other tunnel will be opened in mid 2013.
Nearly 200 workers have been working day and night, cutting through the mountain to build the tunnel, which is 10-metres high. Five-lakh cubic metres of 62,500 truckloads of hard rock have been created.
The MMRDA had proposed building the twin tunnels as part of the Anik-Panjarpol Link Road project. The road stretches from Anik in Wadala, to Panjarpol in Chembur, and is part of the larger Eastern Freeway project, which proposes to build a 22-km road from south Mumbai to Ghatkopar.
The MMRDA decided to drill through the mountain at BARC to create the tunnels.
The APLR is being constructed at a cost of Rs210 crore. The construction of the tunnels costs nearly Rs61 crore. The tunnels start at the BARC mountain and end at Gautam Nagar, near Panjarpol.