Banihal Qazigund Road Tunnel
Banihal Qazigund Road Tunnel is a road tunnel in Jammu and Kashmir, India. It is located in the Lower Himalayas (Inner Himalayas), on National Highway 44. Its Construction started in 2011 and was completed in 2021 after many delays.
|Location||Jammu and Kashmir, India|
|Opened||4 August 2021|
|Owner||National Highways Authority of India|
|Operator||National Highways Authority of India|
|Character||All Types of Vehicles|
|Toll||Qazigund Toll Plaza|
|Length||8.45 km (27,700 ft)|
|No. of lanes||2 Lanes per Tube|
(4 Lanes total in Twin-Tube with Dual carriageway)
|Operating speed||40 km/h (25 mph)|
|Highest elevation||1,790 m (5,870 ft)|
|Width||7 metres (23 ft)|
It is one of the longest tunnel in India, with a length of 8.45 km (5.25 mi) The tunnel reduces the distance between Srinagar and Jammu by 16 km. It also reduces travel time from 2-3 hours to 15 minutes.
It is a Twin tube tunnel consisting of two parallel tunnels - one for each direction of travel. Each tunnel is 7 m (23 ft) wide and has two lanes of road. The two tunnels are interconnected by a passage every 500 m (1,600 ft) for maintenance and emergency evacuation. The tunnel will have forced ventilation for extracting smoke and stale air and infusing fresh air. It will have state of the art monitoring and control systems for security. Built at a cost of Rs. 2,100 crore, it is expected that vehicles will have to pay a toll to use the tunnel.
Construction of this tunnel started in 2011 along with the project to widen NH 44 (which was known as NH 1A before all the national highways were renumbered in the year 2010) to four lanes. The existing road tunnel below the Banihal pass (Jawahar tunnel), has been a bottleneck on the road due to its elevation of 2,194 m (7,198 ft) and limited traffic capacity. The new tunnel's average elevation at 1,790 m is 400 m lower than the existing Jawahar tunnel's elevation, which would make it less prone to avalanches. When completed, the tunnel would reduce the road distance between Banihal and Qazigund by 16 km (10 mile).
- As of May 2016, 7.2 km of the 8.5 km had been excavated.
- As of February 2017, the tunnel excavation was close to completion.
- February 2018: Boring work of one tunnel had been completed. 
- May 2018: Boring of the entire 8.5 km tunnel was completed on 20 May 2018.
- Jan 2019:Tunnel may open for traffic by March 2020. 
- November 2019: Work progressing at slow pace; tunnel to be opened for traffic in March 2021. 
- 25 February 2021:Tunnel likely to thrown open for traffic in April 2021
- 5 April 2021: opening delayed until end of April 2021.
- Jun 2021: Tunnel is almost ready, could be made operations in few weeks.
- July 2021: Tunnel could be inaugurated on the independence day by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
- August 2021: Tunnel was opened by Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari.
The Southern portal (end) of the tunnel is atand the Northern portal (end) of the tunnel is at .
The tunnel is made on Build–operate–transfer basis. It is built with an exhaust system to remove gas and bring in fresh air. It has 126 jet fans, 234 CCTV cameras and a firefighting system installed.
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