Bengaluru: Union Road Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari initiated the work on the new Zojila Tunnel in J&K. 

The tunnel will provide all-weather connectivity between Srinagar Valley and Leh (Ladakh plateau) on NH-1 and will bring about an all-round economic and socio–cultural integration of Jammu & Kashmir.


Here are some aspects of the project:

* A 14.15 Km long tunnel will be constructed at an altitude of about 3,000m under Zojila pass, which presently motorable only for 6 months in a year. 

* Tunnel will provide all-weather safe connectivity between Srinagar, Dras, Kargil and Leh regions. 

* The all-weather safe connectivity of the road is immensely important from the strategic point of view.

* The project would reduce the travel time from more than 3 hours to 15 minutes.
* The project was proposed in 2005 and its Detailed Project Report was prepared by BRO in 2013 on BOT (Annuity) mode. Attempts to award the project four times were not successful. The Project was eventually given to NHIDCL in July 2016 for implementation on EPC mode.

* The road transport and highways ministry said the government has saved Rs 4000 crore by remodelling the project.

* The tunnel will have safety features such as emergency lay-bys at intervals of 750 meters and side-walks on both sides of the carriageway. 

* Emergency call niches and hydrant niches will be situated at intervals of 125 metres. There will be manual fire-alarm push buttons and portable fire extinguishers at the disposal of drivers.

* The project envisages construction of an 18 km approach road from end of Z-Morh tunnel to the start of Zojila tunnel with avalanche protection structures to make it an all-weather connection between the two tunnels