The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) will award construction contracts at the end of this month for the upgrading the NH1A Highway between Jammu to Srinagar. The work includes the construction of the 9km long, US$563M Qazigund-Banhihal tunnel, on the Nashri-Chinani section, and the 8.4km long, US$469M Nashri-Chenani tunnel on the Banihal-Qazikund section of the highway.
The news follows January’s approval by the Indian Government of US$2bn funding for the project.
Reconstruction of the Jammu-Srinagar National Highway has been divided into six sections, Qazigund-Banihal, Banihal-Ramban, Ramban-Nashri, Nashri-Chinani, Chanani-Uhdampur and Udhampur-Jammu. G.M. Saroori, the Minister for Roads and Buildings for Jammu and Kashmir, has said the preliminary work for the project, including land acquisition and forest clearance, has almost been completed.
The NH1A infamously closes for more than 40 days a year due to severe weather, despite continuous maintenance works. The tunnels will make the highway all weather, and also cut the distance between Banihal and Srinagar by some 16km.
Eight tunnels will be built on the highway, including the above mentioned, and the 4.5km long, US$140M Chattroo-Singpour-Sinthan-Vailoo tunnel. Also constructed will be over 137 minor bridges, 58 major bridges, two flyovers, and 11 bypasses as part of the upgrade work.