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India’s longest road tunnel, connecting Cheneni and Nashiri towns on the new Jammu-Srinagar National Highway, has successfully completed its trial run. The 9.2 km long twin tube is expected to be opened for public usage by the end of March 2017.
Speaking on its opening, J S Rathore, the Project Director of the Chenani Nashiri Tunnelway stated that the tunnel would be formally thrown open to regular traffic after inauguration by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, which is expected to happen soon. Rathore added that the road tunnel would help in reducing the traffic jams on National Highway-1A that occur due to snowfall and avalanches in winter.
• The twin-tube tunnel will be the first one in the country to get the world class 'integrated tunnel control system'.
• The system would allow ventilation, fire control, signals, communication and electrical systems to be automatically actuated.
• It is located at an elevation of 1200 meters.
• The trial run of the tunnel was conducted successfully during both peak hours and non-peak hours between 9 to 15 March 2017.
• The tunnel would also have a well-equipped, fully computerised operation room for surveillance of vehicles inside the twin tubes.
• Around 124 CCTV cameras have also been installed at an equal distance of 75 meters to feed information to the operating room.
• In fact, for better visibility the tunnel has been equipped with three-tier lighting system that would ensure that it is well lit at all times.
• Vehicles would be allowed to run in the tunnel at a maximum speed of 50 km per hour, with head lights on at low beam.
• Containers carrying inflammable material would not be allowed to enter the tunnel.
• Vehicles will have to pay toll charges to gain access to the tunnel.
• The tunnel is a part of the new 286-km-long four-lane Jammu-Srinagar National Highway project.
• The construction work on it began six years ago on 23 May 2011.
• Overall, the government has spent around ₹ 3,720 crore on just this part of the new highway project.
• The tunnel is located in the lower Himalayan mountain range and its completion is expected to reduce the travel time between the two capital cities, Jammu & Srinagar by two and a half hours.
• It would bring down the distance between Chenani and Nashri towns from 41 km to just 10.9 km, almost 30 km less than before.