Ramban, Mar 10: The work on the much-needed and long-awaited 880 meters road tunnel of the four-lane project at Panthyal, near Ramsu, would be completed by or before the March 15, 2023, deadline fixed by the government.
An engineer of National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) said that the work on the T5 tunnel was going on round the clock and over 200 engineers, supervisors, and labourers had been engaged to complete the tunnel furnishing work.
Officials said that the tunnel work would be completed in the next few days and it would bypass the most vulnerable road stretch of Panthyal located between Ramban and Banihal on the highway next week.
The highway passing through Panthyal has for decades troubled commuters, travelers, and tourists due to frequent landslides while shooting stones are leading to the closure of the road during snow or rainy days.
All efforts are being made by the government to ensure reducing the travel time between the two capital cities of J&K.
It will not only reduce the travel time but also make commuting safe and hassle-free for the travellers.
The T5 tunnel is the part of the Srinagar-Jammu National Highway realignment project at a crucial landslide and shooting stones-prone Panthyal.
The tunnel construction was started in the year 2020.
It would be operational next week, providing an all-weather means of transport to Kashmir.
Deputy Commissioner Ramban, Mussarat Islam said Panthyal had remained a critical stretch for decades.
He said that this treacherous stretch would be bypassed after the inauguration of the T5 tunnel.
In February, Chief Secretary Arun Kumar Mehta directed the NHAI to make all efforts to open the T5 tunnel on the Panthyal stretch of the highway by March 15, Jaiswal Bridge by March 31, and the double-lane of Ramban flyover and Banihal bypass by April 15.
It was also decided to take a “traffic holiday” for a day every week on the highway till March 15 so that NHAI could utilise traffic dry days by pressing their men and machinery for undertaking some crucial repairs and completing a few essential works for making travel on the road a pleasant experience for the commuters.
Meanwhile DC Ramban Mussarat Islam tweeted, “NH-44 will have two new tunnels, one bridge, and flyover each up and going in next one month, bringing huge relief to the highway travelers.”
NHAI is working on the 66-km road stretch between Nashri and Banihal in Ramban district.