Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation Ltd (MMRCL) has finally awarded civil contracts for the 33.5 km long underground Metro-III corridor, whose first phase is expected to be completed by 2020.
MMRCL initially set a deadline of 2019 for the project, but delay in awarding contracts and non-allotment of land for a car depot at Aarey forced the revision in timeline. MMRCL's director (projects) S K Gupta said, “The Colaba-Bandra-SEEPZ Metro-III project took a big leap as the board cleared the award of civil contracts for the entire section of 33.5 km, with total construction cost at Rs 18,115 crore.“
Contracts for rolling stock, signalling system, etc are yet to be finalized. The entire Metro project was originally estimated to be Rs.23,136 crore, but is now likely to increase. Gupta said, “The estimates were prepared by the consultants with Delhi Metro as the benchmark, but 28 factors have led to the rise in cost. For example, Delhi has only six-car trains while this Metro system will have eight-car ones. Also, there are more entry and exit points. Moreover, Mumbai has rock whereas Delhi invovles digging soil. Besides, Mumbai also has a high water table and proper water-proofing has to be done due to peculiar climatic conditions.“
MMRCL said it hoped to run the first train on this underground corridor by 2020 between SEEPZ and BandraKurla Complex (BKC). Gupta said, “The rest of the corridor will be opened within a year after that.“ He added 80% of the land required to execute the project is available with MMRCL. Gupta further said, “Work on all the stations can begin simultaneously .“
Contractors will first carry out preliminary work but actual work on the ground will begin only around September-October.
Metro-III will be a crucial north-south corridor connecting major CBDs of Nariman Point, BKC, domestic and international airports and industrial areas of MIDC and SEEPZ. It also connects various areas in the island city and suburbs that are not served by the existing suburban network, like Kalbadevi, Worli and Prabhadevi. The corridor provides interchanges with Western Railways at Churchgate, Mumbai Central and Mahalakshmi; Central Railways at CST; Monorail at Mahalaxmi and Metro-I at Marol Naka. It will also provide connectivity to the upcoming Metro-II for seamless travel. Daily ridership on the corridor is estimated at 14 lakh in 2021 and expected to rise to 17 lakh in 2031.