Bullet train project: Bids issued for underground tunnel construction

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The National High Speed Rail Corporation invited bids Friday for the construction of a 21-km underground tunnel in Maharashtra for the bullet train project, an official statement said, in a signal that the marquee project has crossed land acquisition hurdles in the state.

The tunnel is the biggest and most complex piece of civil engineering work for the 502-km Ahmedabad-Mumbai bullet train corridor. A 7-km stretch of the tunnel will be under the sea.

Non-availability of land in Maharashtra was a major reason the tender was cancelled in 2021.

As reported by The Indian Express earlier this month, the work on the project has picked up pace after the change in government in Maharashtra, with tenders which were previously floated and withdrawn being renewed again. This is the third attempt to get this tender off the block. The first time the tender was floated was in 2019, but it did not find any takers. The second time was in November 2021.

To be built over an estimated period of five years, the tunnel will run between the underground station at Bandra-Kurla Complex — the Mumbai station — and Shilphata in Thane district. It will be built using a boring machine and
“the New Austrian Tunnelling Method (NATM)”, according to the tender document.

The tender is open to Indian as well as Japanese firms. Indian firms may also tie up with international companies and vie for the contract, officials said.

The 7-km undersea tunnel at Thane creek will be the first such tunnel to come up in the country. It will be a single-
tube tunnel that accommodates twin tracks. The section will include the construction of 39 equipment rooms at 37 locations adjoining the tunnel location.

This tunnel will be about 25 to 65 metres deep from the ground level and the deepest construction point will be 114 metres below the Parsik hill near Shilphata.

The last date for bid submission is January 19 next year.

With the change in government, officials claim that nearly 96 per cent of the land for the project has been acquired in the state.