This year has been an important year as far as the public transport system in Chennai, the capital of Tamil Nadu, is concerned. The year has also seen plans for its Phase II project being finalised and work getting underway on the 118.9-km network (128 stations) that would cost Rs 69,180 crore and is expected to be complete by 2026. Further, the efforts of the Chennai Metro Rail Ltd (CMRL) to boost last-mile connectivity on the two corridors that are operational seem to have borne fruit, with an increasing number of commuters using the shared auto and taxi services that have been launched on select Metro stations so far.
The three corridors comprising the Phase-II project are Madhavaram to Sipcot (45.8 km with 26.72 km underground), Lighthouse to Poonamallee (26.1 km with 10.07 km underground) and Madhavaram to Sholinganallur (47 km with 5.83 km underground). These corridors will link the remote suburban areas to the core localities of the capital, for instance, the Madhavaram-Sholinganallur corridor is expected to drastically reduce the travel time between the two areas.
The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) has agreed to provide a loan assistance of Rs 20,196 crore for the Madhavaram to Sholinganallur corridor (35.67 km) and the Madhavaram to CMBT stretch (16.34 km) under the Phase-II project. As per reports, construction work for over a length of 52.01 km will begin before the end of this year. The 52.01 km corridor will have a total of 55 stations- both elevated and underground, which will provide connectivity in the eastern parts of the city including the IT hub at OMR
To avoid delays by contractors, Chennai Metro plans to carry out station, viaduct and tunnelling work independently for phase II. Earlier, in phase I, they had to work in coordination and that meant if the tunnelling or viaduct work was delayed, there was a consequential delay in station work too. This time, there will be separate tenders for every part of construction work.