The work on the four-lane Qazigund-Banihal tunnel is going on in full swing with the executing company, Navayuga Engineering Limited, hoping its completion by March end.
The 8.5 km long double-tube tunnel will reduce the distance between Banihal and Qazigund by 16 kilometers.
The tunnel was awarded to Ahandra Pradesh based Navayuga Engineering Company by the NHAI. Over Rs 2000 crore is being spent on this tunnel project.
The work on the project was delayed due to several reasons and many deadlines were missed due to the unexpected land condition inside the tunnel, alleged financial crisis in the construction company, and issues related to land acquisition.
The project is a masterpiece of engineering and has been constructed from Austrian tunnelling method (ATM).
The Banihal-Qazigund four lane tunnel has been built on BOT (Build, Operate and Transfer) bases.
Muneeb Tak, Chief Manager, Navayuga Engineering Company while talking to Greater Kashmir said that “the out and inside work of the tunnel is in final stage and we are hopeful to throw it open for traffic in the last week of March 2021”.
He said that a modern style and a state-of-the-art “exhaust system” has been introduced in the tunnel to remove gas from it and bring fresh air into it.
He said 126 Jet fans, 234 CCTV modern cameras and fire-fighting system are being installed in both tubes of the tunnel for which the work is underway.
He said that a corridor between two tubes after every 500 meters inside tunnel has been built and this can be used in case of any emergency in either tube.
The tunnel is 400 meters below the existing Jawahar Tunnel on the Jammu-Srinagar National Highway and will reduce the travel distance between Qazigand and Banihal by 16 kms and will bypass Jawahar Tunnel and Shaitan Nalla which remains closed for several days during snowfall and slippery conditions across Jawahar Tunnel.