Mumbai: Mumbai Railway Vikas Corporation (MRVC) has achieved a significant milestone with the breakthrough of the 2,625m Wavarle tunnel, which is the longest in the Mumbai suburban railway network.
This tunnel is part of the Panvel-Karjat railway project under Mumbai Urban Transport Project-3 (MUTP-3), whose construction began on Feb 22 last year.
MRVC’s chief public relations officer Sunil Udasi said, β€œThe Panvel-Karjat railway project involves the construction of three tunnels totalling 3,164m.The breakthroughs for Nadhamuni (219m) and Kirawali (320m) tunnels were also achieved. MRVC has completed 50% of the Rs 2,782-crore project, with the goal of opening it by Dec 2025.”
The Wavarle tunnel was constructed using the new Austrian tunnelling method, a process involving cyclic excavation followed by primary support and delayed secondary lining. The tunnel features a ballastless track, public refuge areas, a tunnel control system, lighting, firefighting, and ventilation systems meeting international standards. It is 7.32m tall and 13.28m wide.
The excavation faced significant challenges, including fractured rock masses with water seepage and minimal cover as low as 12m. Two water streams cross the tunnel alignment at the low cover zone. Despite these difficulties, an average excavation output of 175m per month was achieved through careful planning and daytime blasting. Night blasting is not permitted.
The new double-line corridor will enhance connectivity by allowing local trains to run between Mumbai and Karjat via Panvel, complementing the existing line used for goods trains and a few long-distance passenger services. It will connect Navi Mumbai with Raigad district and act as a catalyst for the development of Panvel, Karjat and the proposed Navi Mumbai Airport Influence Notified Area.
The project involves acquisition of over 57 hectares of private land and 4.4 hectares of govt land. Forest land permissions were granted by the chief conservator of forests in Thane in Aug 2022. MRVC has also initiated station building work at Panvel, Chikhale, Mohape, Chowk, and Karjat stations, along with construction of railway flyovers.

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