The city will soon get another engineering marvel in the form of India’s first twin tunnels. The 500-metre tunnels are being constructed by the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) and are part of the Anik Panjarpol Link Road (APLR) project.
The tunnel system is the first in India to be created within a city and to be used for urban transport. The tunnels are being built at a cost of Rs61 crore. They will start at the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (Barc) mountain and will end at Gautam Nagar near Panjarpol.
The Anik Panjarpol Link Road stretches from Anik in Wadala till Panjarpol at Chembur. The road is being built at a cost of Rs 210 crore and is, in turn, part of the Eastern Freeway Project, which will provide a new 22km road from Chhatrapati Shivaji Vastu Sangrahalaya in south Mumbai to Ghatkopar.
The MMRDA created a hole through a controlled blast in a 120-metre high hillock near Barc to make room for the twin tunnels. Nearly 200 workers then cut through the hillock to create the 500-metre twin tunnels. Five lakh cubic metres of rock was dug out during excavation.
The MMRDA has completed the construction of 350 metres of the left tube of the twin tunnels while 250 metres of the right tube has been constructed.
Each of the tunnels is 18 metres in width and 10 metres in height and will have four lanes each.
“We hope to complete one of the tunnels by September and the other by the end of this year,” said Ashok Kumar, team leader at Consulting Engineering Services, who is undertaking the APLR project on behalf of the MMRDA. The Anik Panjarpol Link Road will be completed only by mid-2012.