India’s longest road tunnel built on Jammu-Srinagar National Highway will open to traffic very soon following successful completion of trial run.
The work on the 9.2 km-long twin-tube tunnel, which is part of a 286-km-long four-lane project on the highway, started on May 23, 2011 in lower Himalayan mountain range, and cost Rs 3,720 crore, officials said.
The tunnel, which is located at an elevation of 1,200 metres, will be the first in India to be equipped with world class “integrated tunnel control system” through which ventilation, fire control, signals, communication and electrical systems will be automatically actuated.
It will reduce the travel time between the two state capitals of Jammu and Srinagar by two-and-a-half hours. The road distance from Chenani and Nashri will now be 10.9 km, instead of the existing 41 km, they said. “The formal trial run was successfully completed for peak, off peak hours between March 9 and March 15,” Project Director, IL&FS, J S Rathore said.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi is likely to inaugurate the highway tunnel by month-end. “The tunnel will be formally thrown open to general vehicular traffic after the inauguration by Modi soon,” Rathore said.
Once the tunnel becomes operational, it will reduce the traffic jams on National Highway-1A that occur due to snowfall and avalanches in winter at Patnitop, he said.