The excavation of a 9 km-long Chenani-Nashri tunnel was completed on Monday, thereby bringing the Kashmir Valley closer to Jammu. The tunnel, which is scheduled to be opened for traffic in May next year, will reduce the distance between Jammu and Srinagar by nearly 30 km.
Union Surface Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari, who was present on the occasion along with J&K Deputy CM Nirmal Singh, described it as a “historic moment”, and said that it will be the country’s first tunnel with world class “Integrated Tunnel Control System (ITCS)” where ventilation, fire control, signals, communication, electrical systems toiling will be automatically actuated.
“I will bring Prime Minister Narendra Modi to inaugurate it,” Gadkari told engineers and other workers of the IL&FS Transportation Networks Ltd who excavated the tunnel using New Austrian Tunnelling Method (NATM) in a record time of less than four years. The two-lane main tunnel with a 13-metre diameter is estimated to cost Rs 3,720 crore. It will provide a safe and all-weather route to commuters travelling between Jammu and Srinagar.