Rajouri: The Border Roads Organisation (BRO) has speeded up the work for upgradation of national highway between Akhnoor to Poonch via Rajouri. The work on six out of eight phases is already going on whereas work is expected to start shortly in the remaining two phases.
This highway, named NH 144A, connects Jammu provincial headquarters with Rajouri and Poonch districts besides parts of Reasi district and Akhnoor sub division of Jammu district.
The project was devised a couple of years ago under which the Jammu to Akhnoor stretch has been constructed as a four-lane road whereas the stretch from Akhnoor to Poonch is being constructed as a two lane highway.
Officials said that the stretch of this highway starting from Akhnoor to Poonch via Rajouri district was approved for upgradation under Border Roads Organisation (BRO) and a mega project has been approved by Government of India under which this highway is being upgraded from Akhnoor to Poonch
They said that this project has been divided into 8 phases with work on 6 phases already going on whereas work on the remaining two phases is expected to start shortly.
Officials told Greater Kashmir that three phases fall under territorial jurisdiction of Jammu district, three in Rajouri district, one in Poonch district while eighth phase falls in the territorial area of both Rajouri and Poonch districts.
Officials said that work on all the phases that fall in the jurisdiction of Jammu district is already going on while work in all other phases of Rajouri is also going on except one which starts from Manjakote and ends at Sangiote Jarran Wali Gali while work in Poonch district is yet to start.
Officials further told Greater Kashmir that in the phase between Sunderbani sub division and Nowshera sub division in Rajouri district, more work has been executed so far as compared to all other phases and a good percentage of new road stretch has already been constructed in this area especially in Lamberi, Siot.
This highway connects Rajouri and Poonch districts with Jammu and is main link of surface connectivity for twin districts with provincial headquarter whereas parts of Reasi district including Bhambla and Pouni also connect with Jammu through highway which is also main connection between Akhnoor sub division of Jammu district with Jammu district headquarter.
Regarding the project from Akhnoor to Poonch, officials said that the present distance of the stretch from Akhnoor to Poonch is 200 kilometers which will be reduced by 32 kilometers and the new stretch will be 168 kilometers and will have four tunnels.
Officials further said that out of four tunnels to be constructed on this highway, the main one is Sungal tunnel that is located between Kali Dwar and Chowki Choura and will be 2.7 kilometers long and it will bypass the highway stretch by 8 kilometers.
“Work on this tunnel is going on aggressively and tunnel digging has been completed by 70 meters from one side and 162 meters from other side," officials said, adding that the work on the tunnel is going on and August 2024 is the date of completion and executive agency is quite hopeful to get this tunnel constructed before the date of completion.