Kunfer tunnel along Jammu-Srinagar NH nears completion, one tube likely to be opened next week

Kunfer tunnel along Jammu-Srinagar NH nears completion, one tube likely to be opened next week

The work on the Kunfel tunnel connecting Peeda with Chanderkote along the Jammu-Srinagar national highway is nearing completion, with one of the twin tubes likely to be thrown open for traffic by the end of next week, officials said on Tuesday.

Ramban/Jammu | The work on the Kunfel tunnel connecting Peeda with Chanderkote along the Jammu-Srinagar national highway is nearing completion, with one of the twin tubes likely to be thrown open for traffic by the end of next week, officials said on Tuesday.

The construction of the 924-metre tunnel, which will bypass a nearly three-km landslide and accident-prone area in Ramban district, started in 2018 after a year's delay due to some issues related to awarding of contract by the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI).

Gammon India Limited has been given the contract for constructing the tunnel.

The tunnel is part of the ongoing four-laning of the 270-km Jammu-Srinagar national highway -- the only all-weather road linking Kashmir with the rest of the country.

"The first tube of the Kunfer tunnel is almost complete and we are expecting it to be opened for traffic within the next eight days," Deputy Commissioner, Ramban, Mussarat Islam told PTI.

Islam, who is monitoring the highway project on a daily basis, said laying of only 50 to 100 metres of pavement quality concrete (PQC) and construction of the approach road are pending and will be completed by the next week.

"Inclement weather over the past few days played spoilsport and hampered the work on the approach road," he said.

On March 16, the NHAI dedicated the 880-metre T-5 tunnel on the highway to the public. The tunnel bypasses the most vulnerable stretch of Panthya in Ramban district.

The work on the four-laning project started in 2011 and includes a number of small and major tunnels, bridges and flyovers. The project is likely to be completed by the next year after missing several deadlines over the past decade.

"The first tube (T1) of the Kunfer tunnel is almost ready and will take a maximum of 10 days to become operational. Only some road construction is pending," said Salim Khan, deputy general manager of Gammon India Limited.

Asked about the second tube (T2) of the Kunfer tunnel, he said it will be ready within two months.

"The work is going on round the clock and will be completed as soon as possible. While the first tube is almost ready, the T2 is going through tunnel lining with 45 metres of excavation work yet to be completed," the official said.

Ramban Deputy Commissioner Islam said the most critical stretch of 66 kilometers of the highway passes through the district between Nashri and Banihal tunnels.

"We have got three tunnels in the past year and several other small tunnels and bridges are nearing completion and will bypass other critical spots on the road," he said.

The officials said work is also progressing smoothly on the Ramban flyover and several other bridges.

They said the completion of these projects will not only help resolve the issue of traffic jams on the highway to a large extent but will also cut down the distance between different points by several kilometers.

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