Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswamy will inaugurate 9.5 km underground stretch of the Chennai Metro between Washermenpet and AG-DMS via a video conferencing from Tiruppur on Sunday (10 February).
Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) Housing And Urban Affairs Hardeep Singh Puri and Minister for Industries M C Sampath will be present for the inauguration ceremony in the city at Chennai Central Metro Rail station.
The opening of the 9.5-km underground stretch will mean the completion of Chennai Metro Rail’s phase I project built at a cost of Rs 14,600 crore. It has been under construction for nearly seven years now.
The 9.5-km underground line between Washermenpet and AG-DMS is the last leg of the 45-km phase-1 of the Chennai Metro and has eight underground stations including Washermenpet, Mannadi, High Court, Central, Government Estate, LIC, Thousand Lights, and AG-DMS. The stretch cuts through the city’s arterial Anna Salai.
Once 9.5 km line opens to the public, it will mark the completion of entire Phase-1 of Chennai Metro. Commuters will be able to reach airport from Washermenpet, in the northern part of city, covering 23.5 km in less than 60 minutes. A significant boost in the ridership in the network. is expected.
As of now, the stretches from AG-DMS to airport, Chennai Central to St Thomas Mount and Koyambedu to airport, totalling 35 km, are operational.
The 45 km network has been opened in a staggered manner. The first one between Koyambedu to Alandur was opened in June 2015, the Little Mount to Chennai airport stretch opened in September 2016. Alandur to St. Thomas Mount commenced in October 2016.
Koyambedu to Nehru Park stretch was inaugurated in May 2017, Nehru Park to Chennai Central and Little Mount to AG-DMS was thrown open to public in May 2018.
When the first 10-km stretch of the metro service started, the ridership was 8,000 a day; up to 20-km, it was 12,000; up to 28-km, it was 18,000; and at 35-km, it was 55,000. The addition of another 10-km from AG-DMS to Washermenpet is expected to multiply the ridership.
A 9-km stretch between Washermenpet and Wimco Nagar, which was announced as an extension of Phase-1 and on which work started in June 2016, is likely to be operational by June 2020.
CMRL is already working on Phase-2 which will have three stretches: Madhavaram to Siruseri; Light House to Meenakshi College; and Madhavaram to Shollinganallur, stretching from the IT corridor in the south of Chennai to the milk production hub in the north-west.
The first portion of this phase will span 50 km and will connect Madhavaram to Koyambedu CMBT and Madhavaram to Sholinganallur. This phase is expected to stretch across 119 km and will have 116 stations. The project is likely to cost Rs 80,000 crore.
Seventy-five per cent of the funding for the Phase-2 has been firmed up with the Japanese funding agency. Soil testing is going on at various places and in a year, ground level work will begin. Thee 119-km network is expected to be operational by 2024.