The government today approved a Rs 1,384 crore tunnel project in Uttarakhand as part of ‘Char Dham’ project to connect Kedarnath, Badrinath, Yamunotri and Gangotri. The tunnel will reduce the travel distance from Dharasu to Yamunotri by about 20 km and travel time by about an hour. The decision was taken at a CCEA (Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs) meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi here. “The CCEA…has given approval to the construction of 4.5 km long 2-lane bi-directional Silkyara Bend – Barkot Tunnel with escape passage including approaches on Dharasu -Yamunotri section between Chainage 25.4 km and Chainage 51 km in Uttarakhand,” road, transport and highways ministry said in a statement. The tunnel, expected to be completed in four years, will provide all weather connectivity to Yamunotri, encouraging regional socio-economic development, trade and tourism in the country, it said. The project falls along NH-134 (old NH-94) in Uttarakhand and will be built under engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) mode.
“The civil construction cost of the project is estimated at Rs 1,119.69 crore, while the total project cost is Rs 1,383.78 crore, which is inclusive of the cost towards Land Acquisition & Rehabilitation and other pre-construction activities as well as maintenance and operation cost of tunnel for 4 years,” the statement said. The project will also save a number of trees that would have been removed in the road improvement of 25.6 km, had the original alignment been followed, it said. The project will be implemented by the Ministry of Road Transport & Highways (MoRTH), through NHIDCL.