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India’s Longest Road Tunnel to be Inaugurated by PM Modi in J&K

The tunnel will reduce travel time between Jammu and Srinagar by two-and-a-half hours.

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India
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Prime Minister Narendra Modi will inaugurate India's longest road tunnel, built on the Jammu-Srinagar National Highway, on April 2.

Union Minister of State in PMO Jitendra Singh said PM Modi will also address a public rally after inaugurating the tunnel, which will cut short the distance between Jammu and Srinagar by nearly 30 km.

The work on the 9.2 km-long twin-tube tunnel, which is part of a 286-km-long four-lane project on the highway, started on 23 May 2011 and cost Rs 3,720 crore, officials said.
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A First for India

The tunnel, which is located at an elevation of 1,200 metres, will be the first in India to be equipped with a world-class 'integrated tunnel control system' through which ventilation, fire control, signals, communication and electrical systems will be automatically activated.

It will reduce the travel time between the two state capitals Jammu and Srinagar by two-and-a-half hours.

The road distance between Chenani and Nashri will now be 10.9 km, instead of the existing 41 km, the officials said.

IL&FS is all set to hand over the tunnel project to the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) soon after its formal inauguration by the Prime Minister.

"The formal trial run was successfully completed for peak and off-peak hours between 9 March and 15 March," IL&FS Project Director J S Rathore said.

Once the tunnel becomes operational, it will reduce traffic jams on National Highway-1A that occur due to snowfall and avalanches in winter at Patnitop, he said.

Light motor vehicle owners will have to pay Rs 55 for a one-way trip, Rs 85 for a to-and-fro journey and Rs 1,870 for one month of travel. Bigger vehicles like mini buses will have to pay Rs 90 as one-way toll and Rs 135 for a two-way trip.

Buses and trucks will have to pay Rs 190 as one-way toll and Rs 285 for a to-and-fro journey.

Rathore said that Infrastructure Leasing and Financial Services (IL&FS) has set up a well-equipped, fully computerised operation room for surveillance of vehicles inside the tunnel.

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Operation of Tunnel

For feeding input to the operation room, 124 CCTV cameras have been installed at intervals of 75 metres. A three-tier system has also been fitted to light up the tunnel round the clock.
JS Rathore, Project Director, IL&FS

An SOS system has been put in place to contact the team in the operation room in case of an emergency, besides effective fire-fighting equipment and a hyper-sensitive ventilation system.

The maximum speed limit permitted for vehicles plying inside twin-tube tunnels is 50 kmph with head lights on at low beam. Containers carrying inflammable material are banned from entering the tunnel.
J S Rathore
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Rathore said the maximum height limit permitted is five metres and for checking this, ‘height sensors’ have been installed just before the toll points at both ends.

"Besides providing a mobile network, an FM radio service is also functional inside the tunnel," he said.

The tunnel project involves construction of 9-km-long two lanes (13 metre in diameter) of the main tunnel, along with a parallel escape tunnel (6 metre in diameter) and interconnected with 29 cross-passages at 300-metre intervals.

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The reduction in journey time is expected to save Rs 27 lakh worth of fuel per day, Rathore added.

The tunnel will also ensure preservation of forests in the ecologically sensitive Patnitop area and also help ensure increased integration of Jammu with the people of Kashmir, Kishtwar, Doda and Bhaderwah by providing better connectivity.

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