engineering marvel was unveiled Friday when the Indian Railways
opened a 10.96-km long railway tunnel, the longest in the country,
that will help connect the Kashmir Valley with the rest of the
country, a company release said.
The tunnel, which connects the Jammu region to the Kashmir Valley
at Banihal, about 190 km from Jammu, was constructed at the cost
of Rs.391 crore, according to Hindustan Construction Corporation (HCC)
project manger S. Yala.
The construction took six years.
"The engineering work included construction of a tunnel having a
finished width of 8.405 metres and height of 7.393 metres with a
provision of three-metre wide concrete road inside the tunnel
throughout the length for maintenance and emergency relief
purpose," the company said.
"It also required 772 metres long access tunnel section," the
According to an HCC statement in Mumbai, the tunnel, part of the
Udhampur-Srinagar-Baramulla rail link project of the Indian
Railways, passes nearly half a kilometre below the existing
Jawahar road tunnel through the rugged Pir Panjal mountains in
Jammu and Kashmir.
The tunnel aims at reducing the travel distance between Quazigund
to Banihal to only 11 km and providing a hassle-free travel up to
The HCC faces a tough task going through the changing geological
strata of the young Himalayan rock, and adopted the New Australian
Tunneling Methodology (NATM) for the construction, the statement
The project also became extremely challenging as the area sees
heavy snowfall in winter, bringing the temperatures down to minus
10 degrees Celsius.