15 Oct 2020
Tunnel to reduce travel time from 3 hrs to 15 min
Union Minister for Road Transport, Highways and MSMEs Shri Nitin Gadkari on 14 October 2020 initiated the first blasting for Zojila Tunnel in J&K. The tunnel will provide all-weather connectivity between Srinagar valley and Leh (Ladakh plateau) on NH-1 and will bring about an all-round economic and socio-cultural integration of Jammu & Kashmir (Now UTs of J&K and Ladakh). It involves the construction of a 14.15 Km long tunnel at an altitude of about 3000 m under Zojila pass (presently motorable only for 6 months in a year) on NH-1 connecting Srinagar and Leh through Dras & Kargil. It is one of the most dangerous stretch in the world to drive a vehicle and this project is also geo-strategically sensitive.
Significance of the project:
- The construction of Zojila Tunnel will provide all-weather safe connectivity between Srinagar, Dras, Kargil and Leh regions. The all-weather safe connectivity of the road is immensely important from the strategic point of view.
- The construction of Zozila Tunnel shall bring about all-round economic and socio-cultural integration of these regions which remains cut-off from rest of the country during winters due to heavy snowfall for about six months.
- A tunnel in Zozila is the only viable alternative at present for a full year connectivity road. This tunnel when completed will be a landmark achievement in the history of modern India. It will also be of great importance to the Defence of the country, in view of the fact that massive military activities along our borders in Ladakh, Gilgit and Baltistan regions are taking place.
- This Project will make the travel on the Srinagar-Kargil-Leh Section of NH-1 free from avalanches.
- Project would enhance the safety of the travellers crossing Zozila Pass and would reduce the Travel time from more than 3 hours to 15 minutes.
- Project will generate employment to the locals.
Safety features of Zojila Tunnel:
- Emergency lay-bys are located at intervals of 750 m staggered on both sides of the carriageway. There are sidewalks on both sides of the carriageway. Emergency call niches and hydrant niches are situated at intervals of 125 m.
- Manual fire alarm push buttons and portable fire extinguishers shall be at the disposal of all drivers.
- A telephone shall be installed at the emergency call niches.
- Fire Hydrants and Hydrant Niches, Fire Extinguishers.
- Video Surveillance system - CCTV-Cameras: The surveillance cameras in the tunnel shall be installed on the tunnel wall and the cameras in the area before and after the tunnel are installed on a pole. Data and video mage shall be transmitted through the communications lines. To achieve this, transceivers and media converter shall be employed.
- Fire Alarm System in buildings
- Automatic Fire Detection and suppression System in the tunnel - linear heat detection systems shall be connected to the SCADA system through its own control system.
- Emergency Telephone Niches - emergency call niches shall be located, according to the EU standard, in the tunnel at intervals of less than 125 m each to other in the tunnel and in all lay-bys. The emergency points shall have the following equipment like fire alarm push buttons and fire extinguishers
- Traffic control system with a central control room.