Metro rail may be a dream in Ranchi, but a modern method of digging earth to set up the underground transport channels will debut in the state capital to replace drinking water pipelines on the all-important Bariatu-Booty More Road.
The drinking water and sanitation department, which has already laid a new water supply pipeline on 750 metres of the 5km road with the conventional style of vertical digging, will introduce the "box pushing technology" on the remaining stretch that is densely populated to prevent traffic woes for residents.
Box pushing technology simply minimises the need for digging, as tunnels are created horizontally by taking up scant roadside spaces.
"The new technology will be introduced in Jharkhand for the first time. It is normally used in construction of metro rails and subways," said Yamuna Ram, superintending engineering (headquarters), drinking water and sanitation.
Rukka Dam, which is situated on the outskirts of the city, supplies drinking water to localities such as Booty, Bariatu, Morabadi and Kokar.
A pipeline from Rukka connects to Booty More from where it splits into two ' one towards Dipatoli and Kokar and the other to Bariatu.
The pipeline to Bariatu, which runs virtually through the middle of the road, is nearly 45 years old and worn out. Water leakage is a common phenomenon and as a result, the road too gets damaged, developing craters and potholes.
Plenty of buildings are located on either side of the remaining 4.25km stretch where the department has to lay pipeline. Hence, if the traditional method of digging is followed to create a trench, it will inevitably lead to traffic snarls and require diversions for which there is no space.
"Horizontal digging of the trench under the new technology will neither disturb the buildings nor traffic. As traffic on this road is very heavy, we decided to opt for the innovative technology," Ram said.
The box pushing technology uses RCC boxes in segments that are cast and then pushed through below the road to create a tunnel.
The state department has engaged Delhi-based Tirupati Cement Pvt Ltd, an agency with expertise in creating tunnels and laying underground pipelines using box pushing technology. It was also involved in construction of metro rail.
As the department had earlier planned to lay pipelines through the traditional method, it had allotted Rs 13 crore. Now, it has dug deep, availing of an additional Rs 5 crore that will be required for the box pushing technology.
"The department has issued work order. The company has to start work and finish it in two months," Ram said.