Prime Minister Narendra Modi today unveiled Jammu and Kashmir’s Chenani-Nashri tunnel, touted as South Asia’s longest road tunnel and the fastest in the country. The tunnel which will run from Chenani to Nashri is also considered the ‘safest’ tunnel in the country, with provisions to ensure the safety of passengers from fire incidents and collision inside it. The 10.89 km long tunnel is a part of the Jammu-Srinagar Highway’s four-laning project and will reduce the distance between Udhampur district’s Chenani and Ramban’s Nashri from 41 km to just 10.89 km, which can be covered in just 10 minutes instead of the two and a half hours usually required.
Authorities are further planning to construct twelve other such tunnels to reduce the travel time and distance between Jammu and Srinagar from 293 km to 62 km and can be covered in a time estimate of 4-4.5 hours. According to official statistics, the Rs 2519 crore Chenani-Nashri tunnel project took five years to get completed and is located at an elevation of 1200 meters.
Here is why the Chenani-Nashri tunnel considered the safest in the country:
1) Integrated Tunnel System
The newly unveiled tunnel has an Integrated Tunnel System, built with new Austrian tunnel technology, has a series of smart safety features, all functioning through a single software. According to Ashutosh Chandwar, Vice President of Infrastructure Leasing and Financial Services (IL &FS), “Its uniqueness is that it has an Integrated Tunnel System, under which all the systems such as Entrance Detection-Control System, Electrical Fire Signalling System and Video Surveillance System and Evacuation Broadcast System, are controlled through one particular software.”
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2) Specialised cameras to count traffic and set speed limit
Chandwar said that the tunnel also has specialised cameras which would count the number of vehicles in the tunnel and accordingly set the speed limit. “The Traffic Control System in the tunnel has green and red lights, the speed limit signs and others are variable signs depending upon the traffic condition inside the tunnel,” said Chandwar.
3) Incident Detection Systems & emergency SOS box at every 150 meters
A unique feature of the tunnel is that at every 150 metres it has an emergency SOS box and a safety evacuation
passage connecting to a safety tunnel constructed parallel to the main tunnel. “The tunnel has an Incident Detection Systems under which if any accident happens, our control team will get to know before the victim contacts us through the SOS call box. Accordingly, our rescue team will help in the evacuation of the person and vehicle through the safety tunnel,” said Chandwar.
4) Video surveillance monitor at every 75 meters
According to Chandwar, at every 75 metres there is a video surveillance monitor through which cameras will help in detection of any “suspicious acts” by anyone inside the tunnel. “There is a tube to provide fresh air. Everything is well managed,” said Chandwar.
5) Special drainage system to flush out water
The tunnel also has a special drainage system to flush out water flowing in from the mountains and to use it for fire fighting and construction activities. “This tunnel is completely dry, which means not a single drop of water will be present in the entire tunnel. To make it dry we have put a water proofing membrane behind the concrete walls. Behind the membrane, there is a system which collects the water coming out from the mountains and takes it to a central drain. Once collected the water is saved for captive use such as fire fighting and construction activities. This water is rock water so it is completely safe for drinking as well,” said Chandwar.
(With inputs from agencies)