Sonmarg-Drass connecting Zojila Tunnel to be ready by 2024: Details here
Zojila Tunnel, a 14.2 km long road tunnel under the Zojila pass in the Himalayas connecting Sonmarg and Drass is currently under construction and scheduled to be ready by 2024, said union road transport and highways minister Nitin Gadkari. He said in a tweet that the construction work of this landmark signature project is progressing at a fast pace.
“Zojila Tunnel - The 14.5 km long strategically important, landmark signature project is progressing at a fast pace and is scheduled to be completed by 2024," said Gadkari in a tweet.
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Construction of the road tunnel project started back in 2018. This tunnel along with the 6.5 km long Z-Morh Tunnel will ensure year-round road connectivity between Srinagar and Kargil, which presently remains closed for seven months (November-May) during winter due to heavy snowfall and avalanches. Once, the tunnel is completed, it will increase the road connectivity and accessibility between the regions even during harsh weather conditions. Also, the time of travelling between Sonmarg and Drass will be reduced significantly.
Currently, it takes more than three hours to cross the Zojila pass which is 15 km long and a vital link between Drass, Kargil and Ladakh. The road project is not only one of the key projects considering civilian connectivity in the region, but a strategic requirement for the army as well, as the region is close to the Line of Control (LOC) and vulnerable to hostile actions.
Previously, the Zojila Tunnel was planned to be completed by September 2026. However, in September this year, union minister Nitin Gadkari inspected the progress of construction work of the tunnel and set a new deadline for the project to be completed by December 2023, much ahead of the original deadline.