Kashmir to Kanyakumari by road? Nitin Gadkari promises new highway
You could soon drive from Kashmir to Kanyakumari, the far north and far south of India, through newly laid highways. Nitin Gadkari, Minister for Transport and Highways, promised that a new road will be ready for use by the start of next year. The National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) has been on a construction spree of new highways and expressways connecting different corners of the country. The new highway, connecting Kashmir and Kanyakumari, will be the longest it will construct in recent times.
The new highway will basically be interconnected with existing and upcoming highways and expressways. During his visit to survey the upcoming Zojila Tunnel, Asia's longest at highest altitude, Nitin Gadkari said, “Kashmir to Kanyakumari road was a dream for us. From Rohtang to Ladakh, four tunnels will be constructed. From Leh, we will come to Kargil and join Zojila and Z-Morh tunnels. A new road will reduce distance between Delhi and Chennai by 1,312 kilometres. This dream will come true by the start of 2024."
The 13-km long Zojila Tunnel, which is being constructed at a height of more than 11.000 feet above sea level, will play a crucial part in connecting Kashmir with Kanyalumari, India's southern-most tip of the mainland. The tunnel will be an all-weather road to access remote parts of the country like Ladakh and reduce dependency on Zojila Pass which remains inaccessible during winter months due to heavy snowfall.
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Nitin Gadkari did not share any detail on the route of the new road to connect Kashmir and Kanyakumari. The Delhi to Chennai section of the new road is likely to be connected through the upcoming 1,350 km long Surat-Chennai Expressway. NHAI too has not shared any detail on the route yet.
NHAI has been working on several greenfield expressway and highway projects of late. One of the major projects is the Delhi-Mumbai Expressway connecting the two metros with 1,320 km long six-lane access-controlled highway. The first phase of the expressway is already operational. The rest of the expressway is expected to be completed by early next year.