Good news for travellers! The much awaited Z-Morh tunnel is set to be opened soon. The 6.5 km long tunnel situated on the Srinagar-Leh highway will be inaugurated by April 2023. The tunnel will provide connectivity round-the-year.
The tunnel constructed between Gagangir and Sonmarg will boost the economic growth of the region. Presently, the finishing work of the tunnel is at an advanced stage.
The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways is building a total of nine tunnels in Jammu and Kashmir to improve the connectivity between Jammu and Srinagar. Of these, Zojila tunnel deserves special mention.
The construction of Zojila tunnel is expected to be completed by 2024. Currently, around 65-70 per cent of work on the Zojila tunnel has been completed and will be inaugurated next year. The 13.5-km Zojila tunnel is being built for Rs 4,900 crore. It will play a key role in making the road (National Highway – 1) connecting Srinagar with Leh an all-weather one. The original deadline for the 11,000-foot high project is December 2026. Once completed the Zojila tunnel will be India’s longest road tunnel and Asia’s longest bi-directional tunnel.
At present, the road remains closed for vehicular traffic after the winter sets in as the area sees heavy snowfall and thereby, the tunnel will provide an all weather connectivity. It will also boost tourism in the valley. It will help to achieve economic growth and socio–cultural integration of UT of Jammu and Kashmir. It would also help in the generation of employment opportunities.
The ministry has also taken several steps to ensure environment sustainability while constructing the National Highways across the country. For this, the government decided to implement Green Highways Policy, 2015 (for carrying out roadside and median plantation, landscaping and transplantation), use of plastic waste and fly ash, rain water harvesting structure for recharge of ground water etc.