New Delhi. Jammu – 50 percent work of the Zojila Tunnel being built for the All Weather Road from Kashmir to Leh Ladakh has been completed. In order to make the construction on time, the work continued even in minus 40 degree temperature in winter. As a result, the work of 1314 and 1074 meters has been completed from both the eastern and western ends. According to the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, this tunnel is also very important for the Indian Army from a strategic point of view, because the way to Ladakh is completely closed due to snowfall in the winter season. After the construction of the tunnel, army vehicles will be able to move between Kashmir and Kargil throughout the year.
The area around Zojila tunnel is an area with heavy snowfall, so there is snow for about six months, but the work of Zojila tunnel continued even in this winter season. Modern machines continued to work inside the tunnel in minus 40 degree temperature. Harpal Singh, project head of Megha Engineering and Infrastructure Limited (MEIL), the company engaged in its construction work, told that the work was divided into several parts according to the weather. New Austrian tunneling method, modern machines like snow blower have been used in the construction of the tunnel.
Snow was removed from the snow blower at the place where the work was to continue. This time there was so much snowfall in Kashmir that every half an hour after removing the snow, the same thick sheet was spread. Despite this challenge, 50 percent of the tunnel construction work has been completed today.
50 percent work of tunnel completed, know how the work was done in minus 40 degree?
The Zojila Tunnel is a proposed 14.2 km long tunnel that would connect the Union Territory of Ladakh with the rest of India. It is planned to be built under the Zojila Pass, which is situated at an altitude of 11,578 feet (3,528 meters) on the National Highway 1 (NH 1) that connects Srinagar and Leh.
The Zojila Pass is known for its treacherous terrain and harsh weather conditions, which often result in the closure of the road during the winter months, cutting off Ladakh from the rest of the country. The proposed tunnel is expected to provide a reliable all-weather connection between Srinagar and Leh, which is crucial for the strategic and economic development of the region.
The project has been approved by the Indian government and is being executed by the National Highways and Infrastructure Development Corporation Limited (NHIDCL). The estimated cost of the project is around Rs. 6,809 crores (approximately USD 920 million), and it is expected to take about seven years to complete.
Once completed, the Zojila Tunnel is expected to be the longest bi-directional tunnel in Asia and will provide a safe, reliable, and fast transportation route for people, goods, and the military. It will also promote tourism in the region and provide better connectivity for the people of Ladakh with the rest of the country.
A look at the Zojila tunnel project
MEIL is building an 18 km long tunnel under this project. Apart from this, the company is doing 17 kilometer long road, three vertical shafts, four bridges and other works related to it. The length of the first Nilgiri Tunnel is 468 meters and it is being built as a parallel tube tunnel. The length of Nilgiri Tunnel-2 is 1,978 meters and it is also a parallel tube tunnel. The third Zojila tunnel is the most important part. Its length is 13 kilometers. It starts from Baltal on the west side of the tunnel and ends near Drass on the east side. On this entire route, 4 bridges are being constructed to cross the rivers. Their length is 815 meters. A target has been set to complete its construction before the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.