The tunnel, built at 5,800 feet above sea level, will replace the Jawahar tunnel as well as provide all-weather connectivity.
Quazigund-Banihal Tunnel: A major milestone in infrastructure development of Jammu and Kashmir has been fulfilled. The 8.5 kilometre long tunnel between Quazigund and Banihal in Jammu and Kashmir has been opened to traffic for trial. Between Jammu and Srinagar, the tunnel from Quazigund to Banihal will reduce the time of travel and distance by around 1.5 hours and 16 kilometres, Union Minister Nitin Gadkari was quoted saying in a PTI report. In a tweet, Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways said that the tunnel, built at 5,800 feet above sea level, will replace the Jawahar tunnel as well as provide all-weather connectivity.
A few days ago, it was reported that a maiden 24-hour trial run of vehicular traffic via the tunnel was conducted by project officials which turned out to be successful. A PTI report had said that the full-fledged trial run was carried out for an entire day and ended on Friday at 10:00 AM. Before the trial, the officials were permitting only limited vehicular traffic to pass through the newly built tunnel. This was carried out on a regular interval as a basic trial ahead of the tunnel’s commissioning for over a duration of 15 days, Muneeb Tak, Chief Manager of Navayuga Engineering Company Limited, was quoted saying in the report.
In June 2011, the development work was initiated by Navyug Engineering firm to reduce the distance between Banihal and Qazigund by 16 kilometres. The project has been developed on the Build Operate and Transfer (BOT) model along with an exhaust system. This will ensure gas removal as well as pump in fresh air. Besides, the tunnel project boasts as many as 234 CCTVs, 126 number of Jet fans, along with a firefighting system that has been equipped in both tubes of the tunnel. The tunnel has been constructed at an average elevation of 1,790 metres. Since this is 400 metres lower than the elevation of the Jawahar tunnel, it is said to be less prone to avalanches.