‘Bailey bridge will be ready by tomorrow’
SRINAGAR: Owing to the ‘vulnerable locations’ along the way, the work on four laning of Srinagar Jammu Highway has been halted at many places.
Srinagar Jammu highway, a vital surface link between Kashmir valley and rest of India, gets frequently closed in winters due to heavy snowfall, landslides and shooting stones, which results in the delay of essential supplies and other commodities to the valley.
The closure also leads to the stranding of several thousand passengers and vehicles on both sides of the Highway. The frequent closure of the road causes not just death, but also countless misery and pain on the people of the Kashmir valley.
For the past 70 years, successive governments have failed to find alternatives to the crises.
To curb the road connectivity crises Government of India approved the implementation of projects for four-laning of the mountainous Highway in the year 2011, the only road link to the Kashmir Valley which is extremely vulnerable to inclement weather.
The four-laning project was divided into six sub-projects, comprising widening of the Jammu-Udhampur road (65 km), Chenani-Nashri tunnel (9.2 km), widening of Ramban-Udhampur road (43 km), Banihal-Ramban road (36 km), Qazigund-Banihal road (15.25 km) and Srinagar-Banihal road (67.7 km).
However, in the past 10 years, the road widening project has failed to complete, missing several deadlines.
National Highway Authorities confirmed to news agency—Kashmir News Observer (KNO) that work on four laning of the Highway has been stopped at many places and no excavation is taking place at the vulnerable areas.
“We have stopped the excavation work in many places, as soon as we start the work the portion of land sunken. We are exploring the options of tunnels and wide- ups, the process is under the study,” an official of NHAI told KNO.
The Pir Panjal range, being a plateau, is a geo-morphologically different from the rest of the district ranges. This geomorphic unit, together with a tropical climate, allows for the formation of a thick column of soil.
Vibrations from heavy equipment along with natural factors decrease the strength of the hills, resulting in them becoming more prone to landslides.
Over the past few years with the increase in construction and widening of the highway and tunnels, incidents of landslides have increased.
“At some places the excavation work has been stopped, as the location are vulnerable for digging we are planning to built tunnels at these places which will make traffic to ply in all weather conditions. Rest of the work will be completed by mid of 2022,” Project Director NHAI in Kashmir Purshotam Kumar said, while speaking with KNO.
“As far as the Bailey bridge is concerned we are expecting it will be completed by tomorrow”, he said.
Meanwhile, the alternative route ‘Mughal Road’ continues to be closed because of heavy snowfall in the region.