Meerut: The Delhi-Ghaziabad-Meerut corridor of India’s first RRTS witnessed the first tunnel breakthrough in Meerut on 22nd October 2022. Sudarshan 8.3 (TBM) made a breakthrough from the tunnel at the Begumpul RRTS station.
Vinay Kumar Singh, MD, NCRTC, initiated the breakthrough by pressing a remote button in presence of the Directors and other senior officials of NCRTC. The Sudarshan 8.3, Tunnel Boring Machine (TBM), was lowered at the launching shaft constructed at Gandhi Park and will now be retrieved from the Begumpul RRTS station. This has been achieved within 4 months after completing the boring and formation of a 750 m-long tunnel.
This is the first drive of tunnelling completed by Sudarshan 8.3. The same TBM will also construct the parallel tunnel. Hence, the TBM will be dismantled in the shaft and its cutter head and shield will be brought back to the launching shaft at Gandhi Park on trailers. The backup gantry or the rest of the parts of the TBM will be sent back from the tunnel itself. Once it reaches the launching shaft, it will then be re-launched.
Meanwhile, two other Sudarshan, 8.1 and 8.2, are boring 1.8 km long parallel tunnels from Bhaisali to Football Chawk.
Begumpul RRTS station is being constructed through a Top-Down technique, in which the station is built from top to bottom along with deep excavations. This station has three levels: mezzanine, concourse, and platform level. The Mezzanine and concourse level of this station have been completed and the construction of the platform level is being carried out at present.
To construct this 750 m-long tunnel, over 3500 pre-casted segments have been used. In the tunnelling process, these segments are inserted and seven segments are combined to make one ring. Each segment is 1.5 m long and 275 mm thick. These segments and rings are connected with the help of bolts. The Tunnel Segments are being cast at NCRTC’s Casting Yard in Shatabdi Nagar with assured quality control. Pre-casting helps in the safe and fast execution of the works while ensuring good quality control, minimizing inconvenience to the road users, local passers-by, business owners and residents along the entire stretch, and reduction in air pollution & noise pollution.
Due to the bigger rolling stock and a high design speed of 180 kmph, the diameter of the RRTS tunnels being constructed is 6.5 m. Compared to the metro systems, this is for the first time that a tunnel of such a large size is being constructed in the country.
Speaking on the occasion, Vinay Kumar Singh, Managing Director, NCRTC said, “First Breakthrough of Sudarshan 8.3 is a significant milestone in the implementation of the RRTS project. Constructing such a mega infrastructure project in a historical and congested city like Meerut is a huge challenge and involves complex logistics management. Tunnelling under the existing city is a hazardous activity and requires meticulous planning. It is through the support of officials of the Government of UP and the perseverance and hard work of Team NCRTC, General Consultants, Designers, and our contractors that this enormous project is being implemented at a fast pace without much inconvenience to people of Meerut. I compliment all the committed Engineers and workers who have made this possible.”
The project is being implemented as per the scheduled timeline. To expedite the process, parallel construction was being carried out, where on one hand, the launching shaft was being constructed; on the other, segments of the ring were being pre-casted in the casting yard. Also at the same time, FAT (Factory Acceptance Test) checking of TBM was being done and parts of this technologically advanced machine were being brought to the site. It is due to the far-sightedness and premeditated efforts that the project is coming along in a timely manner, despite two waves of the pandemic.
Meerut Central, Bhaisali, and Begumpul are the underground stations in Meerut, out of which Meerut Central and Bhaisali are the Meerut Metro Stations whereas Begumpul Station will serve as both RRTS and Metro. NCRTC is going to provide local transit services, Meerut Metro, on the RRTS network itself in Meerut with 13 stations in the span of 21 km for local transit needs.