Secretary, Road Transport and Highways, Government of India Giridhar Aramane, Union Secretary, Road Transport and Highways, Giridhar Aramane, visited Banihal to assess the status of construction work on double-tube four-lane tunnel between Qazigund and Banihal which is a prominent part of Srinagar-Jammu National Highway widening project.
In this regard, Union Secretary chaired a brief meeting at Banihal and reviewed the progress on the prestigious project with a detailed assessment of all vital aspects of the construction work.
Union Secretary observed that most of the civil, mechanical and electrical works have been completed while the toll plazas on both the terminals are also ready. He said that only security gadgets are pending due to COVID-19 restrictions on flights as they are being procured from Singapore. He assured that the mega project will be thrown open for public within weeks, which will reduce the travel distance on the highway by 16 km.
Pertinently, the construction work on the 8km tunnel cutting across the mountain range was started in 2011 by the ‘Navyug Engineering Company’ after approval by the NHAI.
According to construction agencies, the trial of various facilities inside the tunnel including ventilation set up and CCTVs installed inside the tunnel has already started and the tunnel is expected to be thrown open in coming weeks.
Traffic spokesman said said UT of Ladakh and UT J&K administrations had decided not to allow any traffic movement on Srinagar-Leh national highway on Wednesday for weekly maintenance. Therefore, he said, no traffic was allowed from Srinagar or Ladakh today on the highway. He said earlier it was Friday when the Beacon authorities were conducting weekly maintenance of the road which remained closed for about five months due to accumulation of snow since January 1.
Meanwhile, he said, historic Mughal road, seen as alternative to Srinagar-Jammu highway, was through for traffic. But, he said, only load carriers, including those carrying fresh perishable fruit and vegetables besides empty trucks and oil tankers were being allowed to ply from Heerpora Shopian in south Kashmir to Poonch in Jammu region.
The vehicles had to ply between 0900 hrs to 1400 hrs only, he said, adding that no vehicle will be allowed after cut off timing. No passenger vehicle or pedestrian movement will be allowed on the road, he added.
Spokesman said Anantnag in south Kashmir and Kishtwar in Jammu region road was also through for traffic. However, only vehicles carrying patients and medical emergencies will be allowed to ply, he said.