The road project, which is spanning over 14.2 km will be built at a whopping amount of Rs 6,809 crore. The development work of road tunnel project is expected to be over by 2026.
Zoji La Tunnel: May 19 onwards, construction of a road tunnel across the Zoji La Pass will start, which will provide the Kashmir Valley with an all-weather access to Ladkah, which is a strategically important border region. The foundation stone for the project is likely to be laid by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The road project, which is spanning over 14.2 km will be built at a whopping amount of Rs 6,809 crore. The development work of road tunnel project is expected to be over by 2026. Apart from this, another crucial tunnel project of 6.5 km at Z-Morh on this stretch of Srinagar-Leh highway is likely to be over by next year, according to a TOI report.
At present, it takes 3 hours to complete a journey on this 14.2 km stretch, but once the tunnel is completed then it will just take 15 minutes to complete a journey. Inside the tunnel, which will be provided with necessary safety features, including a high-tech communication system, vehicles will be able to run at a speed of 80 km per hour. The Indian Army first carried out the survey for the Zoji La tunnel through the pass in 1997. However, the actual planning of the project had started after the Kargil war in 1999. According to a government official, the step has been taken in order to fulfill the promise made to the people of Ladakh for round-the-year connectivity. The official also added by saying that the stretch between the end point of Z-Morh tunnel and the start of Zoji La tunnel, which is 20 km long will also be overhauled.
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According to Nitin Gadkari, the Union Minister of Road Transport and Highways, the Zoji La tunnel will become the longest bi-directional underground road of Asia, developed almost 400 m beneath the existing highway. During winters, the defence forces find it very difficult to ensure that the supplies reach border posts, said Gadkari who also believes that this pass is most strategic for the entire Kargil sector.
Last year, the project was bagged by infrastructure major IL&FS at a cost of Rs 4,900 crore, outbidding NHIDCL (National Highways and Infrastructure Development Corporation Limited).