The widening and upgrading work on 170 kilometres of Srinagar-Jammu National Highway has been completed at a cost of Rs 5011 crore. However, the work is in full swing on the balance portion of the arterial road including some tunnels and by passes.
Jammu-Udhampur stretch of the Highway has been completed while work is on at the Udhampur-Ramban and Ramban-Banihal stretches with varying degrees of completion, an official spokesman said here. Earlier on Tuesday, Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti chaired a review meeting to monitor the progress of widening of the highway, the only all weather road linking Kashmir with rest of the country.
The spokesman said the meeting was informed that 67 per cent work on the 68-km Srinagar-Qazigund stretch has been completed as work is on to get the proposed Banihal tunnel through at the earliest. “The tunnel is expected to be readied by the year end while as the entire stretch would be readied by next year,” the spokesman said adding Pampore and Bijbehara by pass projects are almost completed and likely to be thrown open by next month.
Terming the Srinagar-Jammu widening project as critically important for the state, the Chief Minister said on completion the project is going to change the entire profile of the state and its people. She asked the project implementing agencies to factor in this objective and complete their projects without delaying any further.
Mehbooba specifically directed the project executing agencies to develop the vacant spaces and adjoining patches along the highway with more greenery, plants and flowers to enhance the aesthetic appeal of the project.
She also directed maintenance of the old national highway by the NHAI till the new entire stretch is completed and operationalised, the spokesman said.
The meeting was informed that a quality wayside facility on the newly constructed highway would be developed after every 40 kilometres and also plantations would be made to make it one of the greenest corridors in the country, the spokesman said.
Meanwhile, Chairman National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) Yudhvir Singh Malik called on state Governor N N Vohra here yesterday and briefed him about the to date status of both the on-going as well as the proposed road and highway projects in the state.
“Among the ongoing works the Governor had detailed discussions with Malik about the completion of the remainder portions of the Udhampur-Banihal and the Banihal-Srinagar sectors of the Jammu-Srinagar National Highway,” the spokesman said.
The Governor stressed the need for ensuring very early completion of all the road projects, particularly the Udhampur-Srinagar segment of the highway.
He also urged Malik to devote particular attention to the maintenance of existing highways and ensure the provision of ‘Lay Overs and Way Side Amenities’ along all highways alongside removal of the rapidly increasing encroachments along the highways.
He also pointed to the need for plantation of suitable varieties of both flowering and shady trees along all the highways, the spokesman said.