After a successful completion of the trial run, the new twin-tube tunnel on the new Jammu-Srinagar National Highway four-lane project is reportedly ready for public usage and will soon be open to traffic. At 9.2 km, this is the longest road tunnel in the country and Prime Minister Narendra Modi is likely to inaugurate the highway tunnel by month-end. Located at an elevation of 1200 meters, the tunnel will also be the first one in the country to get the world class 'integrated tunnel control system'. This particular system will allow ventilation, fire control, signals, communication and electrical systems to be automatically actuated.
"The tunnel will be formally thrown open to general vehicular traffic after the inauguration by Prime Minister Narendra Modi soon," said J S Rathore, Project Director Chenani Nashiri Tunnelway Ltd. He said that the formal trial run for both peak hours and off-peak hours are said to have been carried out successfully between March 9 and March 15. The road tunnel will aid in reducing the traffic jams on National Highway-1A that occur due to snowfall and avalanches in winter. "The tunnel will be formally thrown open to general vehicular traffic after the inauguration by Prime Minister Narendra Modi soon," Rathore added.
The new twin-tube tunnel is setup with a well-equipped fully computerised operation room for surveillance of vehicles inside the twin tubes. About 124 CCTV cameras have been installed at equal intervals of 75 meters feeding information to the operation room. And for better visibility, the tunnel has been equipped with three-tier lighting system the works round the clock. The maximum speed limit permitted for vehicles plying inside twin tunnel tubes is 50 km per hour with head lights on at low beam. And also containers carrying inflammable material are banned from entering the tunnel.
The work on the country's longest road tunnel began six years ago back in May 2011, and the government has spent over ₹ 3,720 crore on this section of the 286 km Jammu-Srinagar National Highway project. The tunnel is located in the lower Himalayan mountain range and is expected to reduce the travel time between the two state capitals of Jammu and Srinagar by two-and-a-half hours. In fact, the distance between Chenani and Nashri, which is currently 41 km, will come down to 10.9 km, over 30 km less than what it was before.
Of course, there will be toll charges for accessing the tunnel and the rates will be as follows -
|Vehicle||One-Way Journey||Return Journey||Monthly Journey|
|Light Motor Vehicle (LMV)||₹ 55||₹ 85||₹ 1,870|
|Mini Buses, Vans||₹ 90||₹ 135||TBA|
|Trucks, Buses and Other Heavy Vehicles||₹ 190||₹ 285||TBA|