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Zojila tunnel: Kashmir to Ladakh, all year round

At 14.15 km, the Zojila tunnel will be India’s longest road tunnel, and Asia’s longest bi-directional tunnel. A look at its features, and why it's significant.

At Baltal on Tuesday. (PTI)

Government is pushing to complete the massive Zojila tunnel, its showpiece infra project in Kashmir and Ladakh, before Republic Day, 2024. Road Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari inspected the west portal of the tunnel in Baltal on Tuesday.

LONGEST ROAD TUNNEL

At 14.15 km, the Zojila tunnel will be India’s longest road tunnel, and Asia’s longest bi-directional tunnel. A connecting tunnel from Z-Morh on NH1 to the Zojila tunnel will be built in the Zojila Ghats between Sonmarg and Kargil. The work on the entire 33-km span is divided into two divisions.

Zojila tunnel, Zojila tunnel pass, Z-Morh tunnel, Z-Morh tunnel nitin gadkari, Nitin Gadkari, all-weather escape tunnel, Sonmarg news, current affairs, current affairs news, Indian express The 434-km Srinagar-Leh road connecting the Kashmir valley with Ladakh is snowed out at the 3,530-metre Zojila pass for four to six months every year. (Express photo by Shuaib Masoodi/Archive)

* The first part involves development and expansion of the 18.475-km highway between Z-Morh to Zojila. A 3-km stretch will be expanded; the rest will be newly developed. The highway will have 2 twin-tube tunnels, 5 bridges, and 2 snow galleries.

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* The second part is building the 14.15-km Zojila tunnel itself — 9.5 m wide, 7.57 m high, 2 lanes, in shape of a horseshoe.

* In addition, a 2,350-m concrete ‘cut and cover’ tunnel will be built, along with 3 ventilation caverns/shafts. Works also include construction of portals, control buildings, ventilation buildings and muck disposables along the route.

The 434-km Srinagar-Leh road connecting the Kashmir valley with Ladakh is snowed out at the 3,530-metre Zojila pass for four to six months every year. (Express photo by Shuaib Masoodi/Archive)

TWO UTs CLOSER TOGETHER

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When complete, the Zojila tunnel will allow travel between Srinagar and Ladakh throughout the year. The distance from Baltal to Minamarg will come down to 13 km from the present 40 km, travel time is expected to be cut by an hour and a half, and the journey is expected be less strenuous. The project is expected to lead to integrated development of both Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh.

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First published on: 29-09-2021 at 01:44 IST
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