Kashmir: Upcoming tunnel will prevent frequent closure of Srinagar-Jammu NH – LG

IOK - Indian Occupied Kashmir Jammu & Kashmir

Srinagar: Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha Saturday said that an upcoming tunnel on the Srinagar-Jammu National Highway would permanently prevent frequent closure of the lifeline of Kashmir. In response to a question by Greater Kashmir on the frequent closure of Srinagar-Jammu National Highway, the LG, during a news conference at Raj Bhawan here, said, “We cannot be experts in all fields. National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) is responsible for the upkeep of this road. If I look at past reasons when the highway was constructed 10-12 years ago, a road was constructed in place of a tunnel. As a result, the condition of this highway stretch deteriorated due to landslides.”

Pathiyal stretch is the most landslide prone area of the 270-km Srinagar Jammu National Highway. To bypass landslide-prone spots, two tunnels were to be built from Ramban and Banihal.

NHAI had commissioned T5-T3 twin tube tunnels in March this year to bypass the vulnerable stretch. However, following incessant rains, the temporary approach road to the tunnel collapsed today. T4 tunnel is under construction and is designed to bypass Panthiyal and join T5-T3 tunnels.

Elaborating, LG Sinha said two tunnels had been constructed and one was in the last stage of completion near Panthiyal.

“After construction of this tunnel (T4), the problem of frequent highway closures will be permanently resolved,” he said. “Due to incessant rains, a portion of the highway collapsed near the (Panthiyal) tunnel.”

The LG said that an alternative route for the movement of yatris had been restored.

“I did an assessment of the highway condition this afternoon. When it will stop raining, we will construct a bailey bridge on a collapsed road leading to Panthiyal tunnel in three days and allow Light Motor Vehicles. Permanent solution will be only after construction of this tunnel,” he said.

On the suggestion about the need to conduct an Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) of the Srinagar-Jammu National Highway and using Mughal Road as an alternative route, the LG said, “We will consider your suggestions about environmental issues.”

He said that the BRO had completed repairs of the Mughal Road portion under its jurisdiction.

“The work of the stretch under Jammu and Kashmir administration has also been completed and traffic was plying. Due to heavy rains the road was closed on Friday and will be restored once weather improves,” the LG added.

Last week, construction of a 1.08-km long, 2-lane viaduct was completed in Ramban district on the highway.

This viaduct, built at a cost of Rs 140 crore, is situated on the Udhampur-Ramban section of the Srinagar-Jammu National Highway and is expected to alleviate congestion in Ramban Bazaar while ensuring smoother vehicular movement.

LG Sinha had credited Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, and Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways, Nitin Gadkari, for their remarkable contributions to the development of highways and road infrastructure in J&K.__Greater Kashmir