Udhampur-Banihal Highway Gets Rs 11,000-cr Revamp Plan

Udhampur-Banihal Highway Gets Rs 11,000-cr Revamp Plan

6 July 2013
The Tribune (Chandigarh)
Arteev Sharma

Jammu: The Union Ministry of Roads, Transport and Highways has given its approval to the proposal of allocating an additional Rs 11,000 crore for the widening of the 79-km treacherous and toughest Udhampur to Banihal section of the Jammu-Srinagar highway. The ministry will soon table the approved proposal before the Union Cabinet to get the final clearance and will award the contracts for execution of the project thereafter. The road widening is the part of the ambitious project of the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) for the four-laning of the 286-km-long stretch of the Jammu-Srinagar highway, which will end the isolation of Kashmir Valley with rest of the country during harsh and snowy winters. The four-laning project has been divided into six sub-projects, which include widening of Jammu-Udhampur road (65 km), Chenani-Nashri tunnel (9.2 km), widening of Ramban-Udhampur road (43 km), Banihal-Ramban road (36 km), Qazigund-Banihal road (15.25 km) and Srinagar-Banihal road (67.7 km). “The Ministry of Roads has approved the proposal for an additional sum of Rs 11,000 crore for the two projects, namely widening of the Udhampur-Ramban and Ramban-Banihal stretches for which the tenders to execute the four-laning work are yet to be awarded. The ministry will soon send the proposal to the Union Cabinet for a final clearance and the allotment of work will be done thereafter,” Project Director NHAI, Jammu, RP Singh, said. The project director, who supervises the widening of the highway from Jammu to Banihal, said the estimated cost of the four sub-projects-other than the widening of the Ramban-Udhampur road (43-km) and the Banihal-Ramban road (36 km)-was over Rs 9,000 crore. He said 58 per cent of the work had been completed and hoped the project will be completed within the stipulated time. “The work is being executed at a nice pace and we will complete the four-laning work on the 65-km stretch of the highway from Jammu to Udhampur by June next year,” he claimed. Residents have been eagerly waiting for the completion of the project as it would reduce the distance between Jammu and Srinagar by 50 km. It takes 9 to 10 hours to travel on this stretch and it would take just five hours to cover the same after the project is completed, that too, avoiding the treacherous points on the highway. The major structures of the four-laning project include two major tunnels viz the country’s longest road tunnel between Chenani and Nashri and the 8.5-km-long Quazigund-Banihal tunnel, besides the 6.2-km long 12 short tunnels, 34 major bridges and 24 viaducts. The two major tunnels will end the snow-related blockage and traffic jams that last several days on the highway. The four-laning project was started in 2011 and the deadline for its completion is May 2016. The project The four-laning project has been divided into six sub-projects, which include widening of Jammu-Udhampur road (65 km), Chenani-Nashri tunnel (9.2 km), widening of Ramban-Udhampur road (43 km), Banihal-Ramban road (36 km), Qazigund-Banihal road (15.25 km) and Srinagar-Banihal road (67.7 km).