RAMBAN — The T5 tunnel that bypasses the landslide-prone Panthyal stretch on the Jammu-Srinagar National Highway was opened for traffic on Thursday, officials said.
Work on the twin-tube 880-metre tunnel, part of the highway realignment project, started in February 2020. Its completion has put an end to the threat of shooting stones which have consumed numerous human lives, they said.
Over the past couple of years, a temporary iron and steel tunnel at the crucial stretch provided some relief to the people travelling on the highway. But the rolling stones continued to cause frequent disruptions in the smooth movement of traffic.
“The T5 tunnel at Panthyal was opened for two-way traffic which will now move smoothly without the fear of disruption from falling rocks,” Deputy Commissioner, Ramban, Mussarat Islam told PTI.
The four-laning project of the 270-km highway, the only all-weather road linking Kashmir with the rest of the country, was started by the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) in 2011.
The work that includes a number of small and major tunnels, bridges and flyovers is likely to be completed by next year after missing several deadlines over the past decade.
The T5 was the fourth tunnel dedicated to the public by the NHAI in the past year, while several other small tunnels and bridges are nearing completion which will bypass other critical spots on the highway, making travel comfortable by the end of July.
“The Ramban flyover which will bypass Ramban Market is expected to be thrown open by April 15, Jaishwal bridge near Karole by March 31 and 873-metre Kunfer tunnel between Peeda and Chanderkote next month as well,” Islam said.
The officer said after the completion of these projects, traffic congestion on the highway will get reduced. — (PTI)