Banihal Qazigund Road Tunnel

Banihal Qazigund Road Tunnel is a road tunnel at elevation of 1,790 m (5,870 ft) in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir in India, below the Banihal Pass in the Pir Panjal mountain range in lower Himalayas, on National Highway 44. Its construction started in 2011 and was completed in 2021. It is one of the longest tunnels in India, with a length of 8.45 km (5.25 mi). The tunnel reduces the distance between the cities of Srinagar and Jammu by 16 km.[1] It also reduces the travel time between these cities from 6 hours to 5.5 hours.[2]

Banihal Qazigund Road Tunnel
LocationJammu and Kashmir, India India
RouteC2 NH 44
Work begun2011
Opened4 August 2021
OwnerNational Highways Authority of India
OperatorNational Highways Authority of India
TollQazigund Toll Plaza
Length8.45 km (27,700 ft)
No. of lanes2 Lanes per Tube
(4 Lanes total in Twin-Tube with Dual carriageway)
Operating speed70 km/h (43 mph)
Highest elevation1,790 m (5,870 ft)
Width7 metres (23 ft)

The tunnel consists of two parallel tunnels, one for each direction of travel. Each tunnel is 7 m (23 ft) wide, and each 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 has forced ventilation to extract smoke and stale air and infuse fresh air. It has state-of-the-art monitoring and control systems for security. Built at a cost of ₹2,100 crore, citizens pay a toll to use the tunnel.[3]

Construction edit

Construction of the 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, making it less prone to avalanches. The tunnel has reduced 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.[4]
  • As of February 2017, the tunnel excavation was close to completion.[5]
  • February 2018: Boring work of one tunnel had been completed.[6]
  • May 2018: Boring of the entire 8.5 km tunnel was completed on 20 May 2018.[7]
  • Jan 2019:Tunnel may open for traffic by March 2020.[8]
  • November 2019: Work progressing at slow pace; tunnel to be opened for traffic in March 2021.[9]
  • 25 February 2021:Tunnel likely to open for traffic in April 2021[10]
  • 5 April 2021: opening delayed until end of April 2021.[11]
  • July 2021: Tunnel could be inaugurated on the independence day by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.[12]
  • August 2021: Tunnel was opened by the Road Transport and Highways Minister, Nitin Gadkari.[13]

Location edit

The Southern portal (end) of the tunnel is at 33°29′22″N 75°10′22″E / 33.4895°N 75.1729°E / 33.4895; 75.1729 and the Northern portal (end) of the tunnel is at 33°33′53″N 75°11′12″E / 33.5646°N 75.1867°E / 33.5646; 75.1867.

Safety measures edit

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.[14]

See also edit

References edit

  1. ^ "All-weather tunnel linking Jammu and Srinagar to open soon. All you must know". Retrieved 10 June 2021.
  2. ^ "J-K: 8.5 Km Qazigund-Banihal tunnel in final stage of construction, to open soon". ANI News. Retrieved 5 August 2021.
  3. ^ "NHAI in race to get crucial J&K tunnel ready ahead of avalanches". The Hindu. PTI. 20 May 2018. ISSN 0971-751X. Retrieved 8 August 2021.
  4. ^ "Tunnels of Hope in Valley, Governance Now". Retrieved 19 February 2017.
  5. ^ "Tunnel openings". Retrieved 4 March 2017.
  6. ^ "Tube 1 of Banihal-Qazigund four-lane tunnel completed | Greater Kashmir".
  7. ^ "Banihal-Qazigund road tunnel opening likely next year: NHAI - Kashmir Times".
  8. ^ "CONCERN: 8 years on, work on Qazigund-Banihal tunnel far from over | Greater Kashmir".
  9. ^ Excelsior, Daily (24 November 2019). "Qazigund-Banihal tunnel to miss 5th deadline".
  10. ^ "'Qazigund-Banihal tunnel being thrown open in March'".
  11. ^ "Opening of Qazigund-Banihal tunnel delayed from March end to April end". Kashmir Reader. Archived from the original on 22 April 2021. Retrieved 22 April 2021.
  12. ^ "8.5 km all-weather Qazigund-Banihal hi-tech tunnel likely to be operational in coming weeks".
  13. ^ "Auto News India, Car and Bikes News, Launch, Price, Features, Reviews". Hindustan Times Auto News. Retrieved 5 August 2021.
  14. ^ "8.5 km all-weather Qazi Gund-Banihal tunnel to open for public in days".