The project has missed several deadlines amid huge cost escalations since the year 1997 when the then PM H D Deve Gowda laid the project's foundation at Udhampur.
Work on Indian Railways’ Udhampur-Srinagar-Baramulla Rail Link (USBRL) project, worth Rs 21,653 crore, connecting Kashmir with rest of India is likely to be completed within 2-3 years. Northern Railway GM, Ashutosh Gangal was quoted in a PTI report saying that there was no seepage issue in the tunnels that are under construction as they are horseshoe-shaped for water to drain out. The USBRL project is said to be the most challenging railway infra project being undertaken after India’s Independence. The project has missed several deadlines amid huge cost escalations since the year 1997 when the then PM H D Deve Gowda laid the project’s foundation at Udhampur.
Gangal and other senior officials of Indian Railways were at Kauri in Jammu and Kashmir to witness the completion of the arch on the world’s highest rail bridge, which soars 359 metres above the Chenab river bed. Gangal said the seepage issue is in one or two tunnels in the Udhampur-Katra section. The construction has been modified to horseshoe-type to drain out the water. Thus, in the tunnels between the Katra-Banihal section, there will be no seepage issue. In some old tunnels, seepage issue was present, and to address the problem, the national transporter is taking necessary measures, Gangal said.
According to the report, of the 272 kilometres long USBRL project, 161 kilometes length was commissioned in phases. The 118 kilometres long Qazigund-Baramulla section was commissioned in October 2009, followed by the Banihal-Qazigund section of 18 kilometres long in June 2013 and the 25 kilometres long Udhampur-Katra section in July 2014. A railway official said that the 111 kilometres long Katra-Banihal section is under construction. The project involves many firsts including the longest railway tunnel with 12.75 kilometres length, the world’s highest railway bridge, the first cable-stayed bridge, which after completion will be an engineering marvel of the 21st century.
Out of 97.64 kilometres, 84.39 kilometres stands completed on the main tunnels, he said. Similarly, as many as 12 major bridges have been completed, and on 14 more, work is in progress. Besides, 10 minor bridges were completed and work on the last one is in progress. So far, construction of more than 205 kilometre network access roads stands completed, the official said. About tunnel number 49 between Sumber station yard-Arpinchala station yard, the official said out of 12.75 kilometres total length, work on 11.21 kilometres was completed. Additionally, another major tunnel of 11.21 kilometres length in Qazigund section was completed and commissioned already.