Asia’s Longest Bi-directional Tunnel – Chenani-Nashri-Tunnel
Constructed at a costing of a little over 2500 crores, the Chenani-Nashri-all-weather tunnel is Asia’s longest bi-directional highway tunnel. Inaugurated by PM Modi on the 2nd of April, 2017, this tunnel is 10.89 km long and took around 5 years to get ready. The construction of this engineering marvel had started on May 23rd, 2011. The project is a part of NHAI’s (National Highway Authority of India) proposed widening of the NH-44 between Jammu to Srinagar. The tunnel is located at a height of 1200 mtr that is thrice the height of Empire State Building.
The Chenani-Nashri-tunnel will cut short the distance between Jammu and Srinagar by about 40 km and save an estimated of 27 lakhs per day in fuel costs, that is a whopping 99 crores in a year! Not to forget the commute time will be reduced by 2 hours while using this tunnel that will bypass the snow-and-landslide-prone areas of Kud, Patnitop, and Batote on the NH44. The tunnel is expected to provide better connectivity for the residents of Kishtwar, Doda, and Bhaderwah. It is expected to boost trade among the adjoining areas and increase revenue for the state government and NHAI.
The Chenani-Nashri-all-weather-tunnel, as the name suggests, will provide immunity for the commuters in all weather conditions, unlike the old passage of NH44 that used to be shut down in times of frequent rain or snowfall. Also, a number of telecom operators have installed their towers so that the passengers don’t lose their mobile network while crossing the tunnel.
Img Credits – Greater Kashmir
The high level of safety and security features speaks volumes. It is a single-tube bi-directional tunnel whose main traffic tunnel is 13 mtr in diameter while a safety tunnel 6 mtr in diameter runs alongside. 29 “Cross passages” are also available, one at every 300 mtr to facilitate evacuation in times of emergency or towing away of vehicles in cases of breakdown or accidents. 124 cameras are at the disposal of the authorities for better monitoring and surveillance. The tunnel features accident mitigation and actuation safety software by ABB. The Integrated Traffic Control System, Broadcast systems, Fire Fighting System and SOS call boxes are few cherries on the cake that make the Chenani-Nashri-tunnel a unique piece of modern day construction.