India’s longest highway tunnel set to open

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Udhampur: March 31 (IANS) India will set a benchmark in infrastructure when the country’s longest highway tunnel of 10.98 km opens between Udhampur and Ramban in Jammu and Kashmir on Sunday.

To be inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, it will also be Asia’s first longest bi-directional tunnel with fully transverse ventilation system, according to the Ministry of Road, Transport and Highways.

Built at a cost of Rs 2,519 crore, the tunnel forms part of the proposed widening of National Highway 44 between Jammu and Srinagar.

Constructed in the most difficult terrain, the tunnel will reduce the travel time between Jammu and Srinagar by two hours.

Among the features the state of art tunnel are a fully integrated tunnel control system that will control ventilation, communication, power supply and incident detection.

There will also be SOS call box at every 150 metres and a fire fighting system.

“Very few tunnels in the world are having fully integrated tunnel control system. The tunnel has world class safety features for detection of incidents including accidents and fire,” said a ministry statement.

Modi will drive through the tunnel and inspect the control room. Later, he will address a rally at Udhampur.

The tunnel has a nine-km escape tunnel too.

By bringing down the travel time between Jammu and Srinagar, the government hopes to save fuel worth Rs 27 lakh a day.

“The tunnel will be protected with a world class security set up. It will boost economic activities and tourism in Jammu and Kashmir,” the statement said.

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