The Chenani-Nashri tunnel was inaugurated on Sunday by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. As India’s longest road tunnel and Asia’s longest bi-directional highway tunnel, it traverses a distance of 9.2 km connecting Chenani in Udhampur district with Nashri in Ramban district. The Ministry of Road transport says the tunnel is a part of the 286 km long 4-laning of Jammu-Srinagar National Highway. Here are 10 things you need to know about the tunnel:
# Builders claim that the Chenani-Nashri tunnel is India’s first and the world’s sixth road tunnel with a transverse ventilation system, which basically means it has inlets every 8 m bringing fresh air into the main tube along with exhaust outlets every 100 m opening into the escape tube. Tranverse ventilation is significant as it prevents suffocation and allows for acceptable levels of visibility.
# The tunnel comprises of two tubes which are connected by 29 cross passages at regular intervals along the entire length of the tunnel.
# Out of the two tubes, the main traffic tube has a diameter of 13m. The escape tunnel has a diameter of 6 m and can be used in times of distress or to tow any vehicle that has broken down.
# The tunnel is specially significant as it would reduce travel time on National Highway 44 between Jammu and Srinagar by almost 2 hours. By bypassing Kud, Patnitop and Batote, the tunnel not only reduces the distance between the two cities by 30 km, but also averts the danger of snow and landslide blockades.
# The Chenani-Nashri tunnel, located at an altitude of nearly 4,000 feet, is built in a record time of 5 and a half years by spending Rs 3,720 crore.
# From the movement of vehicles to the inflow and outflow of air, and even the evacuation of passengers or vehicles in distress, the tunnel controls everything externally thanks to the India’s first fully integrated mechanism engineering.
# Fire safety measures have also been taken. Longitudinal exhaust fans installed at regular intervals will concentrate on 300 m on either side of the fire, pushing the smoke upward. Firefighters and rescue workers will use the escape tunnel to evacuate and treat people.
# Loss of mobile phone connectivity will not be an issue as BSNL, Airtel and Idea have set up facilities inside the tunnel to carry signals.
# SOS boxes have also been installed every 150 m for passengers. The boxes will also have basic first-aid kit and essential medicines.
# Keeping in mind the safety issues, a total of 124 cameras have also been installed in the tunnel. Apart from this a linear heat detection system inside the tunnel will alert the Integrated Tunnel Control Room (ITCR) located outside the tunnel if there is a need for any intervention.