The work on the Qazigund-Banihal four-lane tunnel is in full swing with Navayuga Engineering Limited, the executing firm, aiming to complete it by the end of March.
An 8.5 km long double-tube tunnel would minimize the distance by 16 kilometers between Banihal and Qazigund.
The Ahandra Pradesh-based Navayuga Engineering Company was awarded the tunnel by the NHAI. On this tunnel project, over Rs 2000 crore is being invested.
The work on the project was delayed for several reasons and many deadlines were missed due to the unexpected condition of the land inside the tunnel, the construction company’s alleged financial crisis and land acquisition issues.
The project is a masterpiece of engineering and has been constructed from Austrian tunnelling method (ATM).
While talking to Greater Kashmir, Muneeb Tak, Chief Manager, Navayuga Engineering Firm, said that “the out and inside work of the tunnel is in the final stage and we are hopeful of throwing it open for traffic in the last week of March 2021.”
He said that in the tunnel to extract gas from it and put fresh air into it, a new style and a state-of-the-art “exhaust system” was introduced.
He said that 126 Jet fans, 234 new CCTV cameras and firefighting systems are being mounted in both tunnel tubes for which the work is ongoing.
He said that after every 500 metres inside the tunnel, a corridor between two tubes has been constructed and this can be used in either tube in case of any emergency.
The tunnel on the Jammu-Srinagar National Highway is 400 metres below the existing Jawahar Tunnel and will reduce the travel distance between Qazigand and Banihal by 16 kms and bypass the Jawahar Tunnel and Shaitan Nalla, which will remain closed for several days during snowfall and slippery conditions across the Jawahar Tunnel.