With the foundation stone for Phase-II of the Chennai Metro rail having been laid by Union Home Minister Amit Shah on November 21, work has kicked off on the Rs 61,843-crore expansion project which would see three new corridors with a combined length of 118.9 km being built, in addition to the two corridors that are already operational. The Chennai Metro Rail Limited (CMRL) expects to complete Phase-II work in six years’ time.
While the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) has approved a loan of Rs 20,000 crore for the project, agreements with multilateral agencies such as ADB, AIIB, NDB are in the process of being signed to meet complete project costs.
Corridor-3, a north-south line from Madhavaram to SIPCOT, would be 45.8 km in length—with 50 stations, of which 20 would be elevated and 30, underground—and link prime locations like the IT Corridor, Adayar, Mylapore and Purasaiwalkam. Corridor-4, an east-west line that would be 26.1-km long, would start from Lighthouse and end at Poonamallee Bypass, covering the commercial hubs of the city such as Nandanam, T Nagar, Vadapalani, Valasaravakkam, Porur and Poonamallee. Of its 30 stations, 18 would be elevated and 12, underground. Corridor-5 (47 km), from Madhavaram to Sholinganallur, would be an orbital corridor—with 48 stations, of which 42 would be elevated and 6, underground—connecting prime locations like Villivakkam, Anna Nagar, Koyambedu, Virugambakkam, Ramapuram, Madipakkam and Medavakkam. To facilitate multi-modal connectivity, the lines would be integrated with suburban rail, MRTS and city bus services at 21 different locations.
“Phase-II of the CMRL project would be the largest Metro project to be implemented in one stretch. With the completion of these 3 corridors by 2026, Chennai would have 173 km of Metro network, carrying 25 lakh passengers per day and accounting for 25% of the public transport trips in the city. It would transform Chennai into a world-class destination for investments and economic activity,” CMRL has said.
Tenders for civil works of the project have already been floated by CMRL. Official sources say that drawing a lesson from the Phase-I experience, CMRL is taking care to prevent any delays in the implementation of the Phase-II project. “While land acquisition is normally the reason for delay in such a project, it is proceeding smoothly in Chennai,” they say.
Close to 117 hectare of land needed for the three corridors in the Phase-II project is being acquired by land acquisition officers. To facilitate the process, the CMRL has also been working through a private negotiation committee. In fact, the landowners have evinced interest in selling their land through this simpler channel, instead of following lengthy proceedings under the Land Acquisition Act, the sources added.
Two Metro corridors with a total length of 45.10 km are operational in the city at present. The Blue Line links Washermanpet to the airport, while the Green Line connects Puratchi Thalaivar Dr MG Ramachandran Central station to St Thomas Mount. The Phase-1 of the Chennai Metro project was the first one in India to ensure multi-modal connectivity, being integrated to the city’s railway station, bus terminals and airport.
Work is currently underway on extending the Blue Line from Washermanpet to Thiruvottiyur (Wimco Nagar), a stretch of 9.051 km which would connect the northern part of the city to the Central Business District Area. The Phase-I extension line is expected to be made operational by the end of January 2021.