Zojila Tunnel: All you need to know about India's longest road tunnel

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On January 24, infrastructure firm IL&FS Transportation Networks and National Highways and Infrastructure Development Corporation (NHIDCL), under the Ministry of Road Transport & Highways, signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to construct the Zojila tunnel in Jammu & Kashmir.

Here is a look at all that you need to know about the project:

The project: On January 3, the Union Cabinet approved the construction, operation and maintenance of Zojila Tunnel in Jammu & Kashmir, mainly to provide all-weather connectivity among Srinagar, Kargil and Leh and to bring about all-round economic and socio-cultural integration of these regions

The region: Zojila pass is situated at an altitude of 11,578 feet on the Srinagar-Kargil-Leh National Highway, which remains closed during winters (December to April) due to heavy snowfall and avalanches cutting off the Leh-Ladakh region from Kashmir

The tunnel: It would be a two-lane bi-directional tunnel of 14.15-km length. The total length of National Highways in J&K is 1,245 km

Salient features

  • The government claims it will be country's longest road tunnel

  • The total capital cost of the project is Rs 68.08 billion, including the cost of land acquisition, resettlement and rehabilitation, and other pre-construction activities, as well as maintenance and operation cost of the tunnel for four years

  • The civil construction cost of the project is Rs 48.99 billion and the construction period of the project is seven years

  • The tunnel would have a cut and cross-ventilation system, fully transverse ventilation system, uninterrupted power supply, CCTV monitoring, variable messaging boards, traffic logging equipment, tunnel radio, emergency telephone system

  • IL&FS Transportation had in July last year said it had emerged as the lowest bidder for Rs 48.99-billion Zojila tunnel in Jammu & Kashmir

  • Another tunnel, Chenani-Nashri on the Jammu-Srinagar National Highway, was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in April 2017

  • The Rs 37.20-billion Chenani-Nashri tunnel will reduce the distance between Jammu & Srinagar from 41 km to 9.2 km 

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