India’s Kolkata Metro Railway Corporation (KMRC) has completed the construction of an underwater rail tunnel below Hooghly river ahead of schedule.

KMRC developed the East West Metro in collaboration with an Indo-Russian joint venture known as Afcons Transtonnelstroy.

The 502m-long underwater tunnel was dug by a giant tunnel-boring machine (TBM) named Rachna, which was procured from the Herrenknecht plant located in Schwanau, Germany, reported hindustantimes.com.

The 16.6km-long project will connect Howrah in the west to Saltlake in the east in the Kolkata city, and will comprise a total of 12 stations. Six of these stations will be underground, while the other six will be elevated.

Nearly 10.8km of the total rail line will be underground, including the 502m underwater tunnel.

“The 16.6km-long project will connect Howrah in the west to Saltlake in the east in the Kolkata city, and will comprise a total of 12 stations.”

The total cost of the project is estimated at around $750m and the tunnel expected to become completely operational by June 2019, with the first phase anticipated to start services in June next year.

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The East West Metro development was originally scheduled to complete by 2012 but faced several delays, primarily due to land allotment, route alignment and issues related to slum relocation.

KMRC will act as the operator for Line 2, which also known as the East-West Corridor.

Funding for the project has been provided by the state government (30%), the Union Urban Development Ministry (25%), and the Japan Bank for International Cooperation (45%).