Chenani Nashri – A Historic Himalayan Achievement

Mr. Gadkari shared the government’s vision for better infrastructure with the esteemed gathering.

Tunnel to reduce travel time from Jammu to Srinagar by 2 hours.

The Chenani Nashri Tunnel Project, part of an ambitious 286km long four-lane project of the Jammu-Srinagar National Highway, will reduce the distance between the cities by nearly 31km.

On July 13, 2015, the project engineers successfully conducted the ‘final blasting’ to drill a hole through the remaining section of the 9km long tunnel, bringing the Kashmir Valley closer to Jammu. This final blast or ‘breakthrough’ ceremony is of great significance, as both ends of the tunnel match at a common point after years of careful excavation.

Mr Nitin Gadkari, the Honourable Union Minister for Road Transport & Highways and Shipping, Government of India, was present on the occasion to witness this historic breakthrough. Others present included Honourable Deputy Chief Minister of Government of J&K - Dr Nirmal Singh, Minister of State for Revenue & Public Works -

Mr Sunil Sharma, Minister of State for Finance - Mr Pawan Gupta, Honourable Members of Legislative Assembly of J&K - Mr Dina Nath and Mr Neelam Kumar Langeh.

IL&FS Transportation Networks Limited (ITNL) achieved a historic and significant milestone by breaking through the last wall between Chenani (South End) and Nashri (North End) of India’s longest Road Tunnel (9 kms) on July 13, 2015

Ecological Context and Overcoming Geological Constraints The existing highway stretch between Chenani and Nashri encounters heavy snowfall during winters, as well as frequent landslides particularly during the rainy season, leading to closing of a vital road link between Jammu and Kashmir, for days together. In addition, this sharp, winding and hilly terrain makes it slow for motorists to accelerate.

Despite enormous challenges owing to tough weather and geological conditions in the lower Himalayan mountain range, it has been possible to complete excavation of the 9km tunnelling in less than 4 years, due to the untiring efforts of a large number of Indian engineers and technicians, which is a record in Himalayan Geological conditions. This excavation was possible by adopting the New Austrian Tunneling Method (NATM).

Use of State-of-the-Art Infrastructure This tunnel will be the country’s first tunnel, equipped with a world-class ‘Integrated Tunnel Control System’ (ITCS), through which ventilation, fire control, signals, communication and electrical systems would be automatically actuated. In addition, Uninterrupted Power Supply (UPS system), display boards and announcement main tunnel of 2 lanes, with a parallel escape tunnel for evacuation for commuters in case of any eventuality, as well as two minor bridges on the South and North sides and 4-lane approach roads with Toll Plazas on both ends of the tunnel. The main tunnel has a diameter of 13m and the escape tunnel of 6m, which are internally connected through 29 ‘cross-passages’ provided at intervals of 300 meter.

In case of emergencies, the escape tunnel has been automated to detect snags and would immediately guide stranded passengers toward the safe zone.

Optimism and Connectivity

ITNL has successfully completed the drilling exercise which is a big achievement for the country, using Indian contracting expertise. The Project is therefore an ideal example of ‘Make in India’ initiative of the Government of India.

The project has already provided employment to about 2000 unskilled, semiskilled and skilled youth of J&K. This constitutes 94% of the total workforce that has been employed for the construction of this project from the state. This workforce will get trained and work on other projects as well. Post completion of this project, economic activities would improve considerably in J&K due to increase in tourism.

Key benefits arising from the development of this tunnel

  • Safe, all-weather route to commuters.

  • The distance will be shortened by 31km, due to the tunnel.

  • Time saved for motorists travelling along NH1 between Jammu and Srinagar, prone to frequent and long traffic jams due to landslides, snow and sharp curves, breakdown of vehicles and accidents.

  • It is a ‘straight road’ - the gradient has come down.

  • Ensures increase in the speed of vehicles.

  • Fuel savings to the tune of Rs 27 lakhs per day.

  • Protected with a world-class security set up.

  • Equipped with 3 tier power backup.

  • Reduction in traffic and maintenance activities of the highway passing through Patnitop, will help preserve the ecology and environment of this region.

  • Boost economic activities and tourism in J&K State.

  • It will also better integrate people of Jammu not only with those in the Kashmir valley, but also with the people of Kishtwar, Doda and Bhadrwa by providing better connectivity and reduced travel time. Fact file

  • The Project was awarded to ITNL by the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) on DBFOT (Annuity) basis on June 2010. Initially, the construction was undertaken by an overseas company, however midway ITNL had to undertake the construction work and lead the project execution through its own managerial and technical acumen.

  • Started on May 23, 2011, the two-lane tunnel is being completed at a cost of over Rs 2,519 crore. Despite numerous technical and administrative challenges, the project is well on schedule and close to completion by May 2016.

  • State-of-the-art imported machinery has been used at the site that includes Boomers, Concrete Sprayers, High Capacity Articulated Dumpers, Hydraulic Gantries, and Pumps. Apart from these, indigenously developed concrete batching plants, gantry forms, travellers, dumpers, transit mixers, concrete pumps etc. have been deployed.

  • The quantity of major materials used in the construction is approximately 2 lacks MT of cement, 25000 MT of Steel and 5000 MT of Explosive for excavation works.

  • In line with the Skill India initiative of the Honourable Prime Minister, skill sets of locals were developed and improved over the past 4 years for construction of the tunnel. Almost 600 to 900 people worked on the project in 3 shifts.

  • The developer of the project ITNL and contractors have also taken up CSR initiatives in consultation with the local administration in the areas of Health, Education and Skill development around the vicinities of Chenani Nashri. Two Major eye camps have been conducted at Chenani and Nashri respectively, which corrected the vision of 150 people.


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