04 August 2020

Table of Contents for Project Focus

Project Focus

Underwater Connection


The East – West underwater tunnel under construction in Kolkata will be first of it’s kind in India.


Kolkata was the first city in the country to have the underground Metro rail service. Now the City of Joy is all set to become the first in India to have the underwater metro rail tunnel connecting the east and west banks of the Hooghly.


Says R. Anantakumar, EVP & BU Head – Urban Transportation, Afcons Infrastructure “First thing that comes to mind is the sheer scale of projects being envisioned. The gap between concept and actual execution is shrinking rapidly. We have incorporated world's latest and best practices in our design and implementation processes thereby delivering savings in time, cost and space. Our engineers have rapidly scaled up their skills to utilise the best practices with minimum gestation”



AFCONS INFRASTRUCTURE, one of India’s leading company in the infrastructure domain resumed construction of the twin tunnels of 2.9 kms each in September 2015. The project which started in April 2009  was stalled (for phase II between Sealdah and Howrah Maidan) in 2012 due to land acquisition and alignment issues. The tunnels are scheduled to be completed in 2020. The underwater tunnel will connect New Mahakaran Station on the Kolkata side with Howrah Station, and, finally the terminus at Howrah Maidan on the Howrah side. According to company sources the project is on schedule and  expect  to  complete the underground Howrah Maidan Metro Station by 2019 and  the underground Howrah Station by 2020. The Kolkata Metro Rail Corporation Ltd has appointed AECOM as their project management consultants and  SYSTRA has been appointed by Afcons.

KMRCL had carried out soil investigation work at the pre-tender stage for feasibility study. In addition to this, Afcons carried out soil investigation work near the entire tunnel alignment, deploying floating barges and pontoons in the river portion. The company  also conducted extensive condition surveys of the buildings in proximity to the alignment before carrying out tunnelling.

Though the tunnel will not be constructed in any special manner that is different from the normal method of Metro tunnelling, certain criteria in the segmental lining have been adapted and as the scope of work involves tunnelling under water, certain additional operational precautions and checks are being implemented to prevent any untoward incident.

The Herrenkeneckht Tunnel Boring Machines (TBMs) used for the project are equipped with emergency seals in the articulation joints in the event of high pressure water inflow. The Tunnel Boring Machine (TBM) is expected to cover roughly 11 to 12 metres a day.



The underwater Metro tunnel will ease the heavy traffic substantially that chokes entry and exit from Howrah Station via the Howrah Bridge. This means that crossing the Hooghly river will be a breeze with the Metro service swiftly ferrying passengers between Howrah Maidan and Kolkata side.



The underwater tunnel project cost was Rs.937 cr when it was sanctioned in 2008-09.
The project is partly funded by Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and Ministry of Urban Development.

The East – West underwater tunnel is a challenging and prestigious project undertaken by Afcons Infrastructure. Successful and timely completion will herald the company to a bigger league.

The company has recently bagged a Metro infrastructure construction project in Ahmedabad. The company has been awarded the job of designing and constructing underground stations and tunnel for Ahmedabad Metro Rail Project Phase-I. The project has been awarded by Metro-Link Express project for Gandhinagar and Ahmedabad (MEGA) Co. Ltd.

Apart from a twin-bored tunnel, Afcons will build two underground stations - Kankaria East and Kalupur Metro Station - including a portion of NATM and launching and receiving chambers of TBM for Ahmedabad Metro Rail Project Phase-I.




Name of the Project: East – West Under Water Metro Tunnel

Location: Kolkata

Connects: Howrah and Sealdah railway stations


PMC: From Client KMRCL side: AECOM
From Afcons’ side: SYSTRA

Financers: Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and Ministry of Urban Development.

TBM Supplier: Herrenkeneckht Tunnel Boring Machines

Total Length: Twin Tunnels of 2.9 km each

Date of Commencement: September 2015

Completion Timeline: 2020


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