In a big connectivity boost to Jammu and Kashmir, the construction work on the 8.5-km long double tube Banihal-Qazigund tunnel along the 270-km Jammu-Srinagar National Highway is nearing completion and it is likely to be opened for public use by the end of March, reports Financial Express.
Once completed, the strategically important project connecting Banihal in Jammu to Qazigund in South Kashmir would bypass the Jawahar tunnel and Shaitan Nalla, which is prone to heavy snowfall and slippery conditions during the winters. Furthermore, the new tunnel has an elevation of 1,790 metre (5,870 feet), which is 400 metre lower than the elevation of the Jawahar tunnel, making the new tunnel lesser prone to avalanches.
Also, the new tunnel would cut the distance between Jammu's Banihal and South Kashmir's Qazigund by 16 km from the present 35 km. It is equipped with a state-of-the-art exhaust system and work is currently undergoing to install as many as 126 jet fans, 234 CCTVs and a firefighting system.
The work on the Rs 2,100 crore infrastructure project began in June 2011. However, the project was delayed and missed several deadlines owing to issues like unexpected land conditions, an alleged financial crisis in the construction firm, and issues related to local landlords and company staff.
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