The widening of the Jammu-Srinagar national highway, the only all-weather road linking Kashmir with the rest of the country, would be completed within one-and-a-half years, a senior government official has said.
Finance Commissioner, Revenue, Pawan Kotwal, who is also the nodal officer of the National Highway four-laning project, said the 8.5-km Banihal-Qazigund tunnel on the road is near completion and would be thrown open for public soon.
The highway widening work started in 2011 with the target of completing it within five years. With the four-laning of the highway, travel time would get reduced by half as the distance would be reduced by 50 kms bypassing a number of treacherous points.
Kotwal on Friday inspected the pace of the ongoing construction works between Banihal and Nashri, the most problematic stretch of the highway, an official spokesperson said on Saturday.
The Finance Commissioner inspected construction works at Chamalwas, Nachilana, Ramsoo, Seri, Ramban, Chanderkote and Dahlwas besides directing the officers concerned to remove bottlenecks, if any, hindering the project.
He was informed that the land acquisition process has been completed and all the working sites have been handed over to the NHAI for starting construction works, the spokesperson said.
Expressing satisfaction over the pace of work, the finance commissioner said the project would be completed within one-and-half years.
“In view of the topography of the hilly terrain between Ramban and Banihal, a detailed project report (DPR) worth Rs 2,000 crore is being formulated by the NHAI to complete the changed 16-km four-laning realigned project which included more tunnels and bridges to avoid landsliding and sinking areas,” Kotwal said.
He also instructed the NHAI and contractors engaged in the widening of the National Highway 44 to ensure proper maintenance of existing roads for hassle-free movement of vehicles.