Ganderbal, Nov 25: Work on the 6.5 km Z Morh tunnel near Gagangeer area of Sonamarg on the strategic Srinagar-Leh highway in central Kashmir’s Ganderbal district is likely to be completed early next year.
Talking to Rising Kashmir, General Manager National Highways and Infrastructure Development Corporation Limited (NHIDCL) VK Panday said that excavation of both escape and main tunnel was complete and the work on the road that is being connected was also in progress.
Currently 1000 workers were working on the project, out of which almost 70 percent were from J&K out of which 40 percent from Ganderbal district. He said the work is going on full swing at this time, despite below freezing temperature.
When asked whether the Tunnel shall remain open during winter he said that it was still incomplete and was yet to be opened. “The condition of the Tunnel is not good yet but we can allow some limited vehicular movement in case of any emergency ,” Pandey said. He said there are some technical parameters and technically it is not possible to throw the tunnel open for the traffic at this point of time. “There are always some checks and balances,” he added.
To mention, Hyderabad-based construction company APCO was awarded the contract for the construction of Z-Morh tunnel. The tunnel will provide all weather road connectivity to Sonamarg tourist spot, which mostly remains closed during the winters due to heavy snow in the Gagangeer and Hung areas.
“Z-Morh tunnel, which will provide all-weather connectivity between Gagangeer and Sonamarg is expected to be completed ahead of its scheduled target of December 2023it would also reduce travel time,” Panday told Rising Kashmir.
He further added that this tunnel would also benefit social and economic development apart from boosting tourism in Sonamarg, besides it helps the hassle-free movement of the armed forces during any weather conditions. Pandey further said that despite the decrease in temperature, work on the tunnel continued so that it can be completed on time.