The tunneling work under the Hooghly river, the first such underwater project in the country, to provide metro connectivity between Howrah and Kolkata has almost finished. The underwater tunnel is a very important link for the railways’ 16.6-km long East-West Metro project in Kolkata. The 520-metre twin tunnel, one east-bound and the other west-bound, is built 30 metre below the riverbed. Passengers between Howrah and Mahakaran metro stations will enjoy travelling under the river for only about a minute when the metro train will pass through the tunnel at a speed of 80 km per hour. Of the 16.6-km route of the East-West Metro project, the tunneling covers 10.6 km, of which 520 metre is under the river. The underwater tunnel is being built at a cost of Rs60 crore while the total cost of the East-West Metro project is estimated to be around Rs9,000 crore. The tunneling work started in April last year and likely to be completed in the river section shortly, a senior railway ministry official said. The East-West Metro is scheduled to be operational by August 2019.