Finally, light at end of Chenani-Nashri tunnel

Though no date has been finalized for formal commissioning of the project, sources said the tunnel may be through for traffic in March or earlier “after the consent from the Prime Minister Office.”

Yogesh Sagotra
Jammu, Publish Date: Feb 3 2017 11:32PM | Updated Date: Feb 3 2017 11:32PM
Finally, light at end of Chenani-Nashri tunnelFile Photo

After seven years of work, the Chenani-Nashri tunnel on Srinagar-Jammu highway is finally heading towards its completion, with testing and other construction works likely to finish by the end of this month, official sources said on Friday.

The construction of the 9.2-km tunnel, connecting Udhampur with Ramban on Jammu-Srinagar highway and reducing the travel distance of 38 kms, was started on May 23, 2011 and was supposed to be completed within next five years. But, according to sources, a ‘dispute’ between the construction workers and the executing agency—coupled with inclement weather conditions on the thoroughfare—caused delay in timely completion of the ambitious project.

Sources said all civil works on the tunnel and its adjoining road are now complete “but the extensive Mechanical, Electrical and Plumbing (MEP) tests are underway” which are a prerequisite for compulsory awarding of Commercial Operations Date by the National Highway Authority of India. The COD would lead to formal commissioning of the project.

Sources said the MEP tests were started in the last week of December 2016 and were supposed to be completed by January 31, 2017. But, they said, due to bad weather conditions and snowfall on the highway, the electricity supply to the area was snapped and the executing agency was unable to continue with the testing and inspection processes.

“The new deadline of second week of February has been fixed for completing the testing process,” the sources said, adding: “After the testing process is over, the tunnel has to pass the ‘commuter safety tests’ to be conducted under supervision of various state departments. The process is likely to complete in the last week of February.”

Though no date has been finalized for formal commissioning of the project, sources said the tunnel may be through for traffic in March or earlier “after the consent from the Prime Minister Office.”

Pertinently, the scheduled date of completion of the Rs 2519-crore tunnel project was May 2016 and the executing agency was hopeful to finish the job by December 2015—five months ahead of the deadline. Later, it was supposed to be thrown open in June but the deadline was further extended till July 2016.  

Once completed, the Chenani-Nashri tunnel will act as an all-weather alternative to the existing Highway-1A section connecting Chenani in Udhampur with Nashri in Ramban district. It will reduce the existing distance between the two points from 41 kilometers to 10.89 kilometers, by-passing the Kud-Patnitop-Batote Circuit.

Meanwhile, work on four-laning of Udhampur-Chenani and Nashri-Ramban stretches of the highway, started in last week of December 2015, is going on.

 

 

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