Kolkata metro commuters will soon be able to travel through India’s first underwater metro tunnel. The work on India’s first metro rail line under the river is almost complete and the service is expected to start soon. The East-West Metro corridor will pass through under Hooghly river and it will become the first such river crossing in the country.
It may be noted that the East-West metro corridor project of Kolkata metro was conceptualised in 1971. The sanction of the East-West corridor connecting Howrah Railway Station and Bidhannagar through an order dated in July 2008. This line will connect Howrah and Sealdah Railway Stations which are two of the busiest railway stations in the world.
Railway Minister Piyush Goyal tweeted about the development on Thursday saying, “Operating under Indian Railways, Kolkata Metro has constructed the first-ever transport tunnel in the country which will pass through underwater.”
“This tunnel has been constructed using world’s finest technology, soon rail travel will be introduced for rail passengers on this route”, he added.
As per a Hindi national daily report, the inquiry of Railway Safety Commissioner on Salt Lake Sector-5 from the Salt Lake Stadium i.e. around 5 kilometres of this metro line was completed on Tuesday and it is expected to get approval soon. Once it is approved, services of the metro will be started for the common people on this section.
It is worth mentioning that the East-West corridor of Kolkata metro is 15 Km-long which spans from Salt Lake Stadium to Howrah. This metro line between Salt Lake Sector-5 to Salt Lake Stadium has Karunamayi, Central Park, City Center and Bengal Chemical metro stations. Kolkata metro is spending Rs 8,572 crore on this entire project.
For the first time in India, a transport tunnel is being built inside the river. Two tunnels are being constructed on the up and down line, which is about 1.4 kilometres long. The width of the Hooghly river here is about 520 meters and this tunnel passes through the bottom of the river bottom.
As per Kolkata metro website, the tunnel will enable the metro to travel more than a 10 storied building below the water surface for almost half a kilometre across the Hooghly river. The reinforced concrete segmental tunnel linings have a thickness of more than a quarter of a metre and are caulked with a gasket of neoprene and hydrophilic rubber to seal the tunnel from ingress of water. This marvel of modern technology is India’s first rare venture.
This project has been in progress since2009. It is expected that this line will be fully functional in 2021. On this line, Howrah and Sealdah stations of Indian Railways will be present. Railways is expecting about 10 lakh people to use this line of Kolkata Metro by the end of 2035.