India's longest road tunnel -- the Chenani-Nashri tunnel road, also known as Patnitop tunnel -- built on the Jammu-Srinagar highway four-lane highway will open to traffic by March end, following a successful completion of trial run. The work was supposed to be over by March 2016, but a dispute between the construction workers and the executing agency and challenging weather conditions caused the delay.
Here are some interesting facts about this mammoth tunnel:
- The tunnel, at 9.2 km is the longest road tunnel in the country, and has cost around Rs 3,720 crore.
- The distance between Chenani and Nashri sectors is around 41 km, so the tunnel has reduced the travel time - it will be now 31 km short.
- It will cost an LMV vehicle Rs 55 on one side, and Rs 85 for a to-and-fro journey. For a month's travel, one has to shell out Rs 1,870.
- 124 CCTV cameras have been installed at equal intervals of 75 meters
- Mobile network of telecom operators including Airtel, Idea and BSNL; and 92.7 FM Radio channel facility is also functional inside the tunnel.
- This is an all-weather route, so it will be operational through winters.
- Rs 27 lakh worth of fuel is expected to be saved per day, and around 2.5 hours of travel time reduced.
- The project has provided employment to more than 2,000 skilled and unskilled Jammu and Kashmir youths. Ninety-four percent of the workforce has been employed from the state.
- The maximum speed limit to be followed in this tunnel is 50kmph.
- The tunnel has been equipped with three-tier lighting system that works round the clock.
- A smaller parallel escape tunnel (5 m in diameter) for emergency services and extraction of smoke and persons, in case of fire and accident.
The tunnel will be inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on April 2.