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Kolkata Metro boring machine enters heritage zone.

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Kolkata Metro boring machine enters heritage zone.

Kolkata Metro boring machine enters heritage zone.

The Metro tunnel boring machine (TBM) on Sunday evening passed underneath the heritage zone of Magen David Synagogue and in another three days, it will pass through the vicinity of the Beth-El Synagogue. The delay in permission for the machine to traverse this zone comprising two nationally protected monuments had held the project in limbo.
The ancient monument protection act (AMASR Act) had disallowed Kolkata Metro Rail Corporation (KMRC), the executing agency of the East-West Metro corridor, to construct the underground tunnel below Brabourne Road after crossing the river. Eventually, Calcutta HC rescued the project, forcing the Centre to grant permission for the tunnel to pass through the protected zones of three monuments -Magen David and Beth-El synagogues and Currency Building. So far, there has been no impact on the structural stability of Magen David Synagogue, the only synagogue in the world with a tall spire. “The TBM is moving with great caution so as to eliminate possibility of even the least settlement of soil that may harm the structure. We are also monitoring live feed on the structural distress, if any,” said an official of Afcons, the tunnel construction agency.
KMRC had been in search of the structural plans of the two synagogues so as to take mitigation measures against the vibration of the TBM. But the plans could not be found. A trench has now been dug on the synagogue premises so that the foundation can be reinforced with chemicals. The second TBM is now very close to another heritage structure, the Armenian Church -the oldest surviving church in the city. “We are not running two TBMs side by side to avoid generating a collective vibration that could be harmful for such old structures,” a source said.
For the past week, Afcons engineers were engaged in installing sophisticated meters on these two structures to monitor vital structural parameters round-the-clock. The monitoring will continue even after the TBM passes this stretch to check out the settlement level.Remedial measures will be adopted if any structural distress is found, said an engineer. “This being the most congested part of the city, we have to be extra cautious so as to not damage any life or property. This is why we put the residents of unsafe buildings in hotels during the passage of the TBM. We have taken all possible measures to go past the heritage buildings without causing damage to the structures. The third nationally protected monument the TBM encounter will be at the Mahakaran station site, which falls within 85m of the Currency Building. Besides these, the TBM will also go past heritage structures like St Andrew’s church, Writers Buildings, Raj Bhawan, Great Eastern Hotel and Chowringhee Mansion,” said a source.

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