Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal on Monday threw open the two-lane Auckland Tunnel for traffic. It is the first such project in the city since the British days and also the first project under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) to be completed in the state.
Built at a cost of Rs 10 crore after more than two years engineering task,the tunnel will divert the heavy traffic on the Cart Road,especially near the Auckland House School,Rajkiya Kanya Mahavidyala (RKMV) and Chapsle School,and reduce a distance between the the Victory Tunnel and Sanjauli by nearly one kilometre. Actual length of the tunnel is 75 meters.
The Engineer-in-Chief,PWD,NL Sharma said,that the successful completion of Auckland Tunnel has created scope for building four more traffic tunnels for which the Detailed Project Reports (DPRs) are being prepared.
However,rebuilding the Auckland Tunnel,which had remained closed for a long time owing to its dilapidated condition and seepage of water from overhead drinking water supply pipes,was not an easy one as the base of the existing pedestrian tunnel was lowered by about 20 ft and widened to make way for double lane vehicular traffic. A 70 metre long bridge will also be constructed over the eastern portal of the tunnel to eliminate the hairpin bend on the Circular Road.
The strata was very loose and as machines drilled the hole,landslides would fill up the empty space. We are happy that we accomplished the task, Sanjay Sood,promoter of the AKS Engineers and Construction,the firm entrusted with the job.
Earlier,the state High Court had set a deadline for the PWD to complete the tunnel before mid-April. The HC,in past six months,has passed at least six orders and monitored the work progress on monthly basis.
Sharma,however,said that the PWD will take few more days to build the 70-metre long bridge at the eastern portal of the tunnel.