Banihal-Qazigund tunnel completed, open to traffic for trial: Nitin Gadkari
Construction of the Banihal-Qazigund tunnel, which connects Jammu with Srinagar, has been completed. Union Minister Nitin Gadkari shared images of the tunnel, saying it is now open to traffic for trials before official inauguration.
Nitin Gadkari shared images of the tunnel being used by cabs and trucks, calling it another milestone achieved in infrastructure development of Jammu and Kashmir.
Banihal-Qazigund tunnel, built at 5800 feet above sea level, will replace Jawahar Tunnel as an all-weather option for people travelling between Jammu and Srinagar. It will bypass the Jawahar Tunnel and Shaitan Nalla, both of which turn a nightmare during heavy snowfall and are often closed due to extreme conditions during winters causing bottleneck in the strategically important road linking Kashmir to the rest of the country.
The existing road tunnel below the Banihal pass often witnessed traffic congestion that affected movement on the highway due to its elevation of 2,194 metres and limited traffic capacity. The new tunnel's average elevation at 1,790 metres is 400 metres lower than the existing Jawahar Tunnel's elevation, making it less prone to avalanches.
The 8.2-km long tunnel along the 270-km Jammu-Srinagar National Highway has been built at a cost of ₹21,00 crore in 10 years. Built at a height of 5800 feet above the sea level, this tunnel will reduce travel time between Banihal in Jammu province and Qazigund in south Kashmir by about 1.30 hours and 16 kms.
Constructed with the Austrian tunneling method, the tunnel has a state-of-the-art exhaust system to prevent gas formation inside with the help of 126 jet fans. There is also a corridor between the two tubes after every 500 meters which has been built for use in case of any emergency. It will also have 234 CCTV cameras and a firefighting system installed in both tubes of the tunnel.