Kashmir highway will be 4-lane with a tunnel at Penthal

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Srinagar, Jan 11 (UNI) The 300-km-long Srinagar-Jammu national highway will be constructed four-lane with a tunnel at Penthal, the most trouble spot on the only road linking the Kashmir valley with the rest of the world, a senior Beacon engineer said.

Geographical and geological change witnessed due to construction of tunnels, tracks and bridge for railway was somehow responsible for frequent landslides and shooting of stones on the highway, Chief Engineer Beacon A K Bhutani told reporters here today.

He said the present two-lane Srinagar-Jammu national highway will be made four-lane for smooth traffic movement.

However, he said, the four-lane road will be contracted by the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI).

About the frequent closure of the highway due to landslides and shooting of stones at Penthal, Chief Engineer said the NHAI had a proposal to construct a tunnel there.

We brought geological experts from Mumbai last year when the highway was closed for 20 days due to trouble at Penthal, he said adding the fencing erected to stop landslides was taken away by huge landslide.

He said stones and land at Penthal were coming down from the top when there is rains.

However, he said, because of contraction of tunnels, tracks and other developmental activities on the highway, most areas become vulnerable due to geological and geographical changes. Ramban area on the highway has also become landslide prone, he said.

When there is a development the ground stature will definitely change, he said, adding everything has a price to pay.

Mr Bhutani said light or heavy snowfall was not a problem for the Beacon workers as it takes just few hours to clear the accumulated snow from the highway.

We have 40 sophisticated snow clearance machines and other equipments on the highway, he said, adding there are 250 workers who are working almost round the clock to make the journey on the highway safe.

UNI BAS SHB KN1630

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