The widened Jammu-Udhampur National Highway will have four tunnels as the executing agency has given new alignment to the road in Nandni area for avoiding disturbance to wildlife there.
Work has begun on three out of these four tunnels having combined length of more than 1.4 kilometers beneath the Nandni Wildlife area.
Though belated, work has been started on T1, T3 and T4 tunnels where three Road Headers (Diamond Cutter machines) along with other required men and machinery have been pressed into service for the excavation since mining for the digging purpose is prohibited in the area.
This was disclosed to the Excelsior by R P Singh, Project Director National Highway Authority of India (NHAI), Jammu.
While elaborating, he said that among all the tunnels, T4 has the maximum length of 540 meters followed by T3 (330 meters), T2 (300 meters) and T1 (210 meters). “Excavation on T1, T3 and T4 is going on full pace with completion of around 15 percent job while work on T2 will be taken up very soon after construction of approaching road to the tunnel,” Mr Singh added.
Though commencement of work on these tunnels could not be taken up earlier due to delay in clearance by the Wildlife Protection Board, the executing agency NHAI is confident of completing the Jammu-Udhampur Road widening project by June 2014, the deadline fixed.
More than 55 percent work on this Rs 1814 crore Jammu-Udhampur Road widening project has been finished while a number of bridges and viaduct have also been completed, R P Singh informed.
The widened Jammu-Udhampur road will have 33 major and 21 small bridges, including 11 viaducts. Among these, five viaducts, ten small bridges and 22 larges bridges have so far been completed while work on a few others is also going on.
The widening of Jammu-Udhampur National Highway will shorten the total distance by road as well as the time taken to complete the journey. The number of bridges and viaducts are being constructed to avoid frequent crests and troughs on the highway while the upcoming four tunnels will keep the Wildlife Sanctuary in Nandni area untouched. These tunnels will cover more than 2.2 kilometer straight area of the Nandni Wildlife Sanctuary and further shorter the total distance of Jammu-Udhampur road.
Pertinent to mention here that widening of Jammu-Udhampur road is part of the National Highway Authority of India’s flagship project of four-laning Jammu-Srinagar National Highway. The NHAI has divided the Jammu-Srinagar National Highway four-laning project into six sub-projects, which include widening of Srinagar-Banihal road (67.7 kms), Qazigund-Banihal road (15.25 kms), Banihal-Ramban road (36 kms), Ramban-Udhampur road (43 kms), construction of Chenani-Nashri tunnel (12 kms) and widening of Jammu-Udhampur road (65 kms). Deadline fixed for completion of Jammu-Srinagar National Highway four-laning project is May 2016.
Started in 2011, Rs 1814 crore Jammu-Udhampur road widening project has been allotted to IFCON and hundreds of workers as well as machines have been engaged for round the clock work to ensure timely completion of the road widening.
Though a few hurdles in the recent past over acquisition of some portions of private land at Jhajjar Kotli, Jakheni and Thangial to the NHAI as well as objections of the Wildlife Protection Board delayed the ongoing work, the NHAI is confident of meeting the deadline of June 2014.