Asia’s Longest Road Tunnel Set To Open on Sunday

Chenani: Chenani-Nashri tunnel – Asia’s longest road tunnel – is all set to be opened on Sunday. 

The tunnel, 9.2 km in length, will reduce Srinagar-Jammu distance by 41 kilometres. The twin capitals of J&K are situated at a distance of 302 kilometers.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will reach Chenani on Sunday, April 02, to throw open the tunnel.

Talking to reporters ahead of inauguration in Chenani, Vijay Sharma, who is in-charge mechanical-electrical and plumbing control of the tunnel informed that the tunnel was built at the cost of Rs 3,720 crore by Infrastructure Leasing & Financial Services (IL&FS) Ltd and it took seven years to build it.

“The tunnel will act as an all-weather alternative to the existing Jammu-Srinagar highway linking Chenani in Udhampur district with Nashri in Ramban district,” he said.

“It will bypass the ecologically sensitive Patnitop area and reduce the distance between Chenani and Nashri from 41 km to 9.2 kilometers – the areas prone to landslides,” he addd.

The tunnel will by-pass three major highway passenger stops: Kud, Patnitop and Batote.

Sharma said, “a total of 124 cameras and a linear heat detection system inside the tunnel will alert the Integrated Tunnel Control Room (ITCR) located outside the tunnel to the need for intervention.” “SOS boxes installed at an equal distance of 150 m will act as emergency hotlines for commuters in distress.”

In a first in India, commuters will also be able to use their mobile phones inside the tunnel. In case of an emergency, the engineers have constructed a parallel tunnel as well.

Sharma said that the main feature of the tunnel is that it is water proof. “You cannot see a single drop of water inside the tunnel,” he said.

The tunnel will be the first in India to be equipped with world class “integrated tunnel control system” through which ventilation, fire control, signals, communication and electrical systems will be automatically actuated.

The construction, which began on May 23, 2011, involved nearly 1,500 engineers, geologists and labourers, besides skilled workers. It was supposed to be completed within five years “but unhelpful weather on the thoroughfare and local disputes between labourers and contractors delayed the project by two years”, Vijay said.

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