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On April 2, 2017, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated longest road tunnel that links Kashmir Valley with Jammu by an all-weather route and reduces the distance by 20 miles at a cost of US$ 559 million.
An ideal example of the government’s ‘Make in India’ and ‘Skill India’ initiative, the 5.5 mile/9 km long, twin-tube, all-weather tunnel between Udhampur and Ramban in Jammu & Kashmir is not only India’s longest highways tunnel but also Asia’s longest bi-directional highways tunnel.
The Chenani-Nashri 5.5 mile long tunnel which happens to be the sixth of its kind in the world which is based on transverse ventilation system due to which passengers will get to breathe fresh air in the tunnel via inlets at 8-meter intervals and the outlet for exhaust every 100 meters. There is also a fully-integrated control system with ventilation, communication, power supply, incident detection, SOS call box and fire fighting. Fitted with intelligent traffic mechanism, the tunnel has fully automatic smart control and no human intervention will be required for its operations. The tunnel is also equipped with advanced scanners to ward off any security threat. Very few tunnels in the world have this kind of fully integrated tunnel control.
"Built at an elevation of 1200 meters on one of the most difficult Himalayan terrains, the tunnel will cut the travel time between Jammu and Srinagar by two hours, bypassing about 25.5 miles/41 kms of road length. It will also ensure an all-weather passage on a route that often sees heavy traffic jams and disruptions due to landslides, snow, sharp curves, break-down of vehicles and accidents." - Press Information Bureau, India.
#ChenaniNashri Tunnel, India's LONGEST highway tunnel, is an engineering marvel, built in the very difficult Himalayan terrain! pic.twitter.com/LoG2CIHePG— ALL INDIA RADIO (@AkashvaniAIR) March 24, 2017
The tunnel is a part of the 286-km-long four-laning of the Jammu-Srinagar National Highway. The structure consists of a 9 km long, two-lane main tunnel with a parallel escape tunnel of the same length. The two tunnels are connected by 29 cross passages at regular intervals along the entire length of the tunnel. These cross passages can be used for evacuation of vehicles and commuters in case of breakdown or any other emergency. There are two minor bridges on the south and north sides and 4-lane approach roads with Toll Plazas on both ends of the tunnel. The maximum height permitted in the tunnel is 5 meters and for checking the height special sensors have been installed just before the toll points at both ends.
India’s paramilitary engineering organization, the Border Road Organization had also submitted a proposal to extend this tunnel up to Gurez, which will double the length of the tunnel from 5.5 Miles/ 9 kilometers to 11.1 Miles/18 kilometers.