Ramban, Aug 28: In an effort to oversee the progress of ongoing four-laning works on Jammu-Srinagar National Highway, Chief Secretary, Dr Arun Kumar Mehta today took a firsthand appraisal of all critical sections between Banihal and Ramban and also held a holistic review of flagship programmes in the District.
During his visit, the Chief Secretary reiterated his direction to the Traffic Department for making the 66-km road stretch between Qazigund and Nashri tunnels two-way for both LMVs and HMVs which are below 4 axle, adding that HMVs which are above 4 axle shall ply only during the lean period as per laid out plan by the Traffic Department. This is expected to provide huge relief as this will put an end to forced halt at Qazigund and Ban toll plaza in future.
During the first leg of his tour, Chief Secretary inspected the progress of work on 2.3km Banihal Viaduct, which will bypass the Banihal town and facilitate smooth movement of traffic on the National Highway. He emphasised upon the NHAI to ensure that the work on the project is completed by December this year. He also passed standing instructions to NHAI to blacktop the link road towards Banihal Market, till the bypass is completed.
Earlier, the Chief Secretary stopped at Lambar, on Banihal Expressway, and passed directions to use the handover /takeover site of Shri Amarnath Ji Yatra – 2023 as truck holding area, keeping in view the increasing movement of fruit laden trucks from Kashmir valley towards Jammu and rest of the country.
Emphasizing upon strict adherence to stipulated timelines, Dr Mehta asked Regional Officer NHAI to ensure completion of 6.2 km Sher Bibi viaduct, Tunnel T-4, 4.2 km Digdol twin-tube and the additional two tubes of Ramban flyover, as this new infrastructure will further decrease the travel time between Srinagar and Jammu. He advised NHAI to explore the possibility of hassle-free two-way movement of HMVs between Tunnels T-3 and T-5.
The road between T-3 and T-5 had caved-in following incessant rains in the first week of July earlier this year during SANJY 2023. NHAI had developed a temporary ramp to restore the movement of vehicles.