SRINAGAR: The driving time between Jammu and Srinagar will now be shortened by two hours as a new 9.2 km tunnel will be made piercing through the inner Himalayas.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi is scheduled to inaugurate the two-lane Chenani-Nashri tunnel, which would be Asia’s longest, cutting down the Srinagar-Jammu distance from 300 km to around 250km.
The tunnel, which took seven years to build, will act as an all-weather alternative to the existing Jammu-Srinagar highway, linking Chenani in Udhampur district with Nashri in Ramban district. It will bypass the ecologically sensitive Patnitop area, and reduce the distance between Chenani and Nashri from 41 km to 9.2 km, while also steering clear of 44 avalanche- and landslide-prone spots on the highway.
Officials gave information that, the construction, which began on May 23, 2011, involved nearly 1,500 engineers, geologists and labourers, besides skilled workers. It was supposed to be completed within five years but unhelpful weather on the thoroughfare and local disputes between labourers and contractors delayed the project by two years.