Despite the various upheavals surrounding the Metro Express project since the Alliance Lepep government announced that it was going forward with the project last year, the construction works have been going strong. Prime Minister Pravind Jugnauth underlined during the launching of the project that it will change the infrastructural landscape of Mauritius while redefining the public transport system.
In January this year, construction works on phase one, connecting Port Louis and Rose Hill, which lies on a distance of 13 kms, kick-started. First excavation works started at Richelieu, which is one of the most important sites where the Train Depot will be situated. In February major works started at Duncan Taylor Street, a new bus holding was constructed and trees at Vandermeersch were transplanted to Ebène. In May, construction works started at Port Louis, La Butte and Grand Rivière North West. The works on the various sites have in fact progressed at a rapid pace under Larsen & Toubro’s operations.
The construction works also demanded the closure of certain roads and streets and included traffic diversions. For example there was the closure of Duncan Taylor Street in Rose Hill where traffic was diverted on a new temporary road. Following the dismantling of St Louis old bridge, part of Philippe Rousset Street in Pailles was closed and traffic was diverted on a temporary bypass as well.
In Port Louis, major excavation works were carried out along D’Entrecasteaux Street near the signalised junction with Port Louis-St Jean Road (A1) in June. Subsequently traffic along D’Entrecasteaux Street was not allowed to proceed towards Port Louis-St Jean Road (A1) near Total Filling Station at La Butte. Traffic along Orleans Street heading towards La Butte via D’Entrecasteaux Street was diverted through Deschartres Street. More recently there was the closure of Port Louis - St Jean Road (A1) near its junction with Black RiverRoad (A3) - Montée S, GRNW since Tuesday 31 July. All necessary traffic signs have been set up to inform and guide road users.
In addition, Larsen & Toubro has launched an awareness campaign since the beginning of this week to inform pedestrians about the new detours such as temporary pedestrian crossings and walkways in the Rose Hill area. The Indian firm which was awarded the contract of the Metro Express project also installed direction signs at Vandermeersch to guide the public as well as distributed flyers, especially to the youth. The firm has also set up an information booth at Place Margéot in Rose-Hill open from 8:00 am to 4:00 pm. On the side of the Police Traffic Branch, Inspector Mattar informed us that everything is under control. “Everything is working out really fine regarding the traffic,” he said.
On Thursday, the Ministry of Public Infrastructures announced in a communiqué that due to works which will be carried out as from 11th August along Mandela Street from its junction together with Pope Hennessy Street to the roundabout, near Barkly Police Station, Mandela Street will be closed to traffic from its intersection with Pope Hennessy Street to the Barkly Police Station. Traffic will be diverted namely along Pope Hennessy Street towards the roundabout near Barkly Police Station via Mandela Street to Colonel Maingard Street and Tournesols Avenue to finally reach Mandela Street near police station, traffic along Pope Hennessy Street towards Barkly Primary School and the Youth Center will be diverted to Sir Francis Herchenroder and des Muguets, buses on bus lines 1C and 239 will be diverted along Colonel Maingard Street and the NHDC Complex. All arrangements, stated the Ministry, are made for users with the setting up of a new bus stop near the NHDC complex.
Larsen & Toubro’s CEO & Managing Director, S. N. Subrahmanyan : “We are confident of meeting the Government’s expectations”
The CEO & Managing Director of Larsen & Toubro, S. N. Subrahmanyan, paid a visit to Mauritius in July to appraise work progress of the Mauritius Metro Express project. He proceeded with site visits on major construction sites and interacted with the site team.
His visit also marked the near completion of a year since signing the contract with the Mauritian government for the project. “The Government of Mauritius has reposed their faith in our expertise to build a world-class metro and after having inspected the progress of the project, we are confident of meeting the Government’s expectations and requirements by delivering the project in time and to quality. The new light rail system will significantly transform the way Mauritius will commute in future,” he stated.
About Metro Express
The 26-km route will connect Curepipe to Immigration Square in Port Louis and will feature 19 stations, 2 of which will be state-of-the-art elevated stations. The alignment will connect four major bus interchanges enabling a multimodal urban transit solution.
Apart from stations, the scope of the project will include the construction of viaducts & bridges, track works (with substantial ballastless tracks including plinth, embedded and grass tracks), DC electric traction systems, ticketing & passenger information systems and integration with road traffic through advanced signalling systems, procurement of rolling stock from world majors in LRT (Light Rail Transit) and construction of depots along with maintenance equipment. Although the project is scheduled to be completed in 48 months, L&T commits to complete and deliver a priority section of 13 km in 24 months.
Dr Das Mootanah, Chief Executive Officer at Metro Express Limited: “The critical section from Rose Hill to Port Louis will be completed on time”
Dr Das Mootanah, Chief Executive Officer at Metro Express Limited, said that the works are progressing well. “The critical section from Rose Hill to Port Louis will be completed on time in September 2019,” he stated.
Regarding the percentage of work completed, Dr Das Mootanah indicated that over twenty percent of the work has been done. “21% out of the total project (Curepipe to Port Louis) have been completed so far, and we still have some 14 months to go for the Priority Section (Rose Hill to Port Louis).”
Queried about the time frame for the works in the different regions, the Chief Executive Officer explained that there are a variety of infrastructures being put up. “There are different types of works in the Metro System, such as civil works, track works, signalling works, light rail vehicles manufacture, depot works and so on and so forth.
They will be implemented sequentially as well as in parallel to make sure that we complete the whole Light Rail System on time. We provide regular updates on our official website, which is themauritiusmetroexpress.mu and Facebook page as well.”
When it comes to the completion of the full project and the official opening of the Metro Express in our island, Dr Das Mootanah uttered that the Metro Express Limited is doing its best in order to meet with the deadlines. “We are working to meet the deadline of September 2019 for the Critical Section from Rose Hill to Port Louis. We are confident about the official opening of the Metro in September 2019, and will complete the Phase 2 (Curepipe to Rose Hill) by September 2021,” he underlined.