In September, a Tunnel Boring Machine (TBM) called Flamingo will be working underground in Marina Beach, excavating a tunnel for Metro Phase-II of Chennai Metro.
Chennai Metro Rail Limited (CMRL) is constructing an 8-kilometre underground stretch from the Lighthouse metro to the Kodambakkam flyover on the 26.1 km Corridor-4 of the Phase-II project.
Chennai Metro Phase-II comprises three corridors: Madhavaram to SIPCOT (corridor-3), Light House to Poonamallee (corridor-4), and Madhavaram to Sholinganallur (corridor-5).
The machine has been assembled at the Lighthouse metro station site and will begin tunnelling next month towards Kutchery Road metro station, approximately 1.5 km away.
Another machine named Eagle is expected to start tunnelling in November. The Lighthouse metro station is part of the 26.1 km corridor-4 from Lighthouse to Poonamallee by-pass.
According to an official, the first machine is scheduled to begin work in the first week of September.
The second machine has already completed its factory acceptance test and is awaiting transportation from the factory at Ponneri to the site at Marina.
However, the Lighthouse metro station may not open until Thirumayilai is ready. Thirumayilai is the third station on the corridor and an interchange station, while Lighthouse is the originating station, as explained by CMRL spokesperson L Girirajan.
Previously, M A Siddique, the managing director of CMRL, mentioned that Thirumayilai, where tunnels will be constructed on three levels, will be the last station to open in Phase-II in 2028, due to the challenges involved in its construction.
It is possible that stations on corridor-3 and 4 leading towards Thirumayilai may also open simultaneously with the station.
Lighthouse and Kutchery Road are the only two stations before Thirumayilai on corridor-4, and they require Thirumayilai to be open.
The 118.1 km Phase-II of the project will be opened in stages between 2026 and 2028.
Lighthouse station serves as the starting point for corridor-4, connecting important areas like Mylapore, Nandanam, T Nagar, Kodambakkam, and Vadapalani with suburban localities such as Porur, Iyyappanthangal, Kaatupakkam, and Poonamallee.
An underground stretch of 8 km will be constructed from Lighthouse to Kodambakkam flyover, while the remaining part of the corridor will be elevated.
In T Nagar, at Panagal Park, another TBM named S1075B is prepared for deployment on corridor-4, with tunnelling scheduled to begin in October.
A press release stated that the TBM successfully passed the factory acceptance test at the Herrenknecht factory in Alinjivakkam village, Tiruvallur district, reports Times Of India.
According to the CMRL, the TBM will now be disassembled, packed, and transported to its final destination at Panagal Park station in T Nagar.
The construction of the TBM launching shaft at Panagal Park station is currently underway and is expected to be completed in October, allowing for the lowering and assembly of the TBM.
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