India’s longest tunnel project inaugurated in Leh
Representational image.

India’s longest tunnel project inaugurated in Leh

22nd May 2018 1:25 pm

Zojila project aims to drastically cut travel time between Srinagar to Leh; to be ready by 2023.

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The Zojila tunnel project, India’s longest to date, was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday. The tunnel aims to establish an all-weather road connection from Srinagar to Leh via Kargil.

Over the next five years, a two-lane stretch of 14.15 km will be built – this will qualify it as the longest bi-directional single tube tunnel in Asia – and so will a 14.2 km long egress tunnel, running parallel.

The tunnel will reduce the travel time to cross the Zojila pass (or simply Zoji La, with the suffix translating to the term ‘pass’), which rests at an elevation of roughly 11,545 feet, to just 15 minutes, reducing travel time between Srinagar and Leh drastically. At present, traversing Zojila takes well over three hours, weather conditions permitting. The construction of the tunnel was approved owing to concerns over the winter connectivity of the region, which generally remains shut for four to five months due to heavy snowfall.

To be undertaken by the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRT&H) through the National Highways and Infrastructure Development Corporation Limited (NHIDCL), the capital cost of the project has been set at Rs 6809 crore, which includes the cost of land acquisition, rehabilitation and maintenance and operational costs of the tunnel for four years. Of the allotted budget, Rs 4899 crore covers the actual cost of civil construction. Over the next five years, a two-lane stretch of 14.15 km will be built – this will qualify it as the longest bi-directional single tube tunnel in Asia – and so will a 14.2 km long egress tunnel, running parallel.

It will reduce the travel time to cross the Zojila pass to 15 minutes which at present takes over three hours further cutting the travel time from Srinagar to Leh drastically.

The construction of the all-weather connectivity tunnel was approved concerning over the connectivity of the region in winter which generally remains shut for four to five months due to heavy Snowfall.

At the time of inauguration, Modi said: “It (the tunnel) will lead to all-round economic and socio-cultural integration of these regions. It also has immense strategic importance.” The tunnel will also facilitate easy border supplies for the armed forces appointed in Kargil and Leh.

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