Reliable connectivity to Kashmir-bound traffic in all weather conditions: Gadkari

A picture of the tunnel tweeted by Union Minister Nitin Gadkari on Wednesday.
A picture of the tunnel tweeted by Union Minister Nitin Gadkari on Wednesday.

‘Tunnel will alleviate traffic congestion on NH’
*Centre committed to seamless mobility

Sanjeev Pargal

JAMMU, Mar 22: Union Minister of Road, Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari said today that the Central Government under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi remained committed to facilitate efficient and seamless mobility in remote hilly regions of Jammu and Kashmir.
Gadkari said this while tweeting pictures of T5 tunnel spanning 870 meters which has been developed at Panthyal on Ramban-Banihal section of Jammu-Srinagar National Highway and was thrown open for traffic last week.
“In Jammu and Kashmir, a two-lane T5 tunnel spanning 870 meters has been developed at Panthyal as a component of Ramban-Banihal section of National Highway-44. #PragatiKaHighway #GatiShakti,” Gadkari said in a tweet on opening of the tunnel.
He said this development (opening of T5 tunnel) is expected to significantly alleviate traffic congestion on National Highway and circumvent the hazardous shooting stone location at Panthyal.
This will also provide reliable connectivity to traffic bound for Kashmir under all weather conditions, the Union Road, Transport and Highways Minister said.
“With Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the helm, we remain steadfastly dedicated to facilitating efficient and seamless mobility in the rugged and remote hilly regions,” Gadkari said through another tweet. He tagged three photographs of the tunnel along with his tweets.
There were reports that Gadkari could also undertake a visit to Jammu and Kashmir after some time to lay foundation stone and inaugurate some projects besides undertaking inspection of ongoing works.
Nearly Rs one lakh crore worth highways, tunnels and roads are under construction in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir. Work on some more National Highways is also likely to be started shortly after approval of the Union Ministry for Road, Transport and Highways.
The Ramban flyover which will bypass Ramban market is also expected to be thrown open by April 15, Jaiswal bridge near Karole by March 31 and 873-metre Kunfer tunnel between Peerah and Chanderkote next month as well, sources said.
After the completion of these projects, traffic congestion on the National Highway will get reduced.
The four-laning project of the 270-km highway, the only all-weather road linking Kashmir with the rest of the country, was started by the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) in 2011.
The work that includes a number of small and major tunnels, bridges and flyovers is likely to be completed by next year after missing several deadlines over the past decade, sources said.
Completion of work on Jammu-Srinagar National Highway is expected to sharply reduce travel time on the National Highway to just four or five hours.
Work is also apace on Jammu-Akhnoor National Highway and a Flyover on the highway has already been opened for traffic.
The T5 tunnel that bypasses the landslide-prone Panthyal stretch on the Jammu-Srinagar National Highway was opened for traffic last week.
Work on the twin-tube 880-metre tunnel, part of the highway realignment project, started in February 2020. Its completion has put an end to the threat of shooting stones which have consumed numerous human lives, they said.
Over the past couple of years, a temporary iron and steel tunnel at the crucial stretch provided some relief to the people travelling on the highway. But the rolling stones continued to cause frequent disruptions in the smooth movement of traffic.