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Qazigund-Banihal tunnel to be made operational in coming weeks

Tunnel almost complete, trail run soon: CM NEC

SRINAGAR, June 12: The work on the much-awaited Qazigund-Banihal tunnel on the national highway is almost complete and soon trail runs will begin.

Chief Manager of Navayuga Engineering Company Muneeb told news agency—Kashmir News Observer (KNO) that work on the tunnel is almost complete and trail runs will begin soon.

He said that they haven’t decided yet when the trail run will be started, however, it will start soon and people will be allowed to travel through the tunnel.

Officials said that the tunnel has already missed around seven deadlines, however, the work at the tunnel has been completed and final touch is being given to it.

In 2011, the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) commissioned the construction of two tunnels namely Chenani-Nashri and Qazigund-Banihal along the Srinagar-Jammu National Highway to reduce travel distance and make it an all season motorable road.

However, the 10.5 km Chenani-Nashri tunnel was thrown open by the end of 2018 but the 8.5 km Qazigund-Banihal is yet to be made operational.

The tunnel with two parallel tubes is being constructed by Indian infrastructure major Navayuga Engineering Co (NEC) at a cost of around Rs 2000 crore.

An official told KNO that the Qazigund-Banihal tunnel would reduce the distance between two sides by over 16 kms.

“It is a double tube tunnel and each tube will be seven meters (23 ft) wide and will bypass the spots where there remains obstruction in vehicular movement on highway during winters like Jawahar tunnel and Shaitan nallah,” an official said.

He added that this project has been completed on Austrian Tunnelling Method and over one hundred jet fans, over 200 CCTV cameras and fire fighting systems are being established in both tubes of the tunnel.

They said that Qazigund-Banihal road tunnel is 8.5 km long at an elevation of 1,790 m (5,870 ft) in the Pir Panjal range in J&K.

“It is a double tube tunnel consisting of two parallel tunnels – one for each direction of travel and two tunnels are interconnected by a passage of every 500 m (1,600 ft) for maintenance and emergency evacuation,” they said.

The tunnel will have forced ventilation for extracting smoke and stale air and infusing fresh air and it will have state of the art monitoring and control systems for security, they said—(KNO)


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