On 1st September 2023, the first drive of Tunnel Boring Machine named “Flamingo” was initiated by Mr T Archunan, Director – Projects, from Chennai Metro Rail Limited (CMRL).

SMEC has been serving as the Detailed Design Consultant for Chennai Metro Rail Phase II, as part of a JV with MMSPA Italy & One Works.  The team is responsible for civil, structural, architectural, MEP, TVS, HVAC and track works, covering the rail alignment and underground section from Light House Station to Meenakshi College in corridor 4.


Phase II Corridor 4 of Chennai Metro runs in an east-west alignment with a length of 26.1 kilometers, connecting the beachfront from Light House Station to Poonamallee Depot. It comprises of eight underground stations and 18 elevated stations, with the underground section extending over 10 kilometres.


The underground portion traverses through diverse areas, from the historic precincts of Mylapore and Kutchery Road to the new and upmarket areas of Alwarpet, Bharatidasan, Boat Club, Panagal Park, and Kodambakkam. Light House Station is situated close to Marina Beach, so additional construction measures such as dewatering wells were incorporated to mitigate the higher water table and probability of ingress. In the event of a rise in sea water, such as during a tsunami, flood gate sensors detect the increase and activate automatic flood gates. These gates will close, sealing off the entry and exit points.


Tunnel Boring Machine (TBM) “Flamingo” will tunnel at a maximum depth of 30 meters below ground, beginning its route from Light House Station towards Kutchery Road. It is anticipated to reach Thirumayilai Station in approximately one year and is expected to conclude its journey at the retrieval shaft of Boat Club Station.


Light House Metro station will be 416 meters by 35 metres wide, with a maximum depth of 15m, with 6 tracks to park 12 trains. It is expected to be the largest Chennai Metro station, and the originating station on corridor 4. Unlike other stations, passengers will go to level 2 to get a ticket and then come up to level one to board the train. Once complete the Phase II network will span a total of 116.1km, accommodating 119 metro stations across three corridors.


The TBM launch event was graced by Mr. T Archunan, Director for Projects at CMRL, along with General Manager of Construction, Mr. Ranganathan R, accompanied by other senior officials, management, and consultants from M/s AEON Consortium, DDC & ITD Cementation.