New Delhi: The construction of Asia’s largest dual carriageway tunnel has started in Jammu and Kashmir. The construction of the massive tunnel at Sojila is part of a plan to use the roads in Kashmir in all climates. It is located at an elevation of 11,578 feet above sea level. The tunnel is 14.15 km long and is of great economic and military importance to the country. Work on the strategic Sojila tunnel, which connects the Leh and Ladakh regions with Srinagar and other parts of the country, is progressing well despite the adverse weather conditions.
National Highways officials say it will be one of the engineering marvels when the tunnel is completed, making full use of modern technology and challenging the harsh weather. Travel to Ladakh and the capital, Leh, is difficult in winter. The tunnel will be closed for 7 months of the year. The Srinagar-Ladakh highway is expected to be closed by mid-November due to heavy snowfall. Road closures often cause major crises in trade and the military. Other routes are longer and cost more. This is a big security threat. It is hoped that this will be resolved with the setting up of a long tunnel that will allow both sides to pass through Sojila. The contract for the tunnel was awarded to Megha Engineering and Infrastructure Limited (MEIL). PV Krishnareddy, Managing Director, MEIL, said that The work is done quickly even in the most difficult weather.
With the completion of the tunnel, the 40 km stretch between Baltal and Minamarg on the Srinagar-Ladakh route will be reduced by 27 km. Travel time through the mountain pass will be reduced by 1.5 hours. When completed, it will be the largest tunnel in the country. An ancillary tunnel is being constructed from Z-Mor to Sojila. The 18.5 km long highway will be widened for this. A MEIL spokesman said two twin tunnels were being built on the route. The first tunnel is 435 m long and the second is 1.9 km long. There are 5 bridges in this area which are 300 meters long. Measures will also be taken to prevent landslides. A two-lane road is being constructed in the Sojila tunnel. The tunnel will be in the shape of a horseshoe. Contractors say a 2.3-kilometer-long covering tunnel in front of the tunnel will also be constructed of concrete. Huge ventilation shafts for ventilation in the long tunnel, catch dams to prevent avalanches, retaining walls and six-kilometer-long deflector dams will also be constructed.
The biggest crisis is the weather
The Sojila Tunnel is being constructed at an elevation of 11,578 feet above sea level. Heavy snowstorms and frequent snowfalls are the biggest challenges. Equipped with state-of-the-art equipment to store machinery and protect employees. In addition to the 8 months of snowfall, the alignment of the tunnel is also in crisis with the strong floodplain.