Jammu: National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) is mulling over construction of additional tunnels and bridges in five sinking zones of Jammu-Srinagar National Highway, given its vulnerability to massive landslides and frequent accidents amid ongoing widening works.
The new tunnels have been proposed to ensure safe journey on the National Highway, particularly Ramban-Banihal sector. This stretch witnesses recurrent incidents of landslides, shooting stones and accidents.
Project Director NHAI, Parshotam Kumar told Greater Kashmir, “There is no problem to travel on Jammu-Srinagar highway from Jammu up to Nashri. However, a portion of the highway had sunken after four-laning work.”
He said, “We have identified five sinking zones on the highways and accordingly, we are constructing bridges from Nashri to Dalwas, following DPRs from the experts.”
He said that they also proposed a tunnel at Cafeteria Morh - a landslide-prone area posing threat to the commuters.
“Marog-Digdol-Panthayal-Makker Kote ahead of Ramban is generally a landslide-prone area and in this stretch on the highway, we have “twin tubes” and “single tubes” at different places,” he added. He said, “Maximum area on the highway on Marog-Panthayal-Makker Kote stretch has been converted into tunnels in the wake of landslides and frequent accidents.”
Project Director NHAI further said that the NHAI was not doing further “cutting from Makker Kote-Nachnalla up to Chappenwas'' and was “adopting alternative ways (mostly bridging).”
“We are facing a problem due to massive traffic on the Jammu-Srinagar National Highway. This creates hurdles in the construction and widening works. You cannot touch a stone for hours as the traffic continues on the highway. It is due to heavy traffic flow on the highway that we have proposed tunnels for the safety of the people,” he added.
Kumar said that the slides would not have any impact on the highway and the travelling would be safer with the tunnels. The tunnels in these places were not proposed initially, he stated.
“The work is being done in a scientific manner. It is being done in the most appropriate way with the advice of experts, besides, ensuring smooth unhindered flow of traffic on the highway,” he said.
“We are working while the highway remains open. This is a difficult task but we’re managing,” he said.
He said, “The highway widening work will be completed by December 2024 as new tunnels have also been proposed and work on them has also been initiated.”