SRINAGAR: The historical T5 tunnel, that would help commuters to bypass the most vulnerable spots on the National Highway in Panthayal, between Ramban and Banihal was thrown open for traffic on Thursday.
Quoting an official of National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) KNO reported that the approach road to the tunnel along other allied works were completed successfully on Wednesday and the tunnel was opened for traffic on Thursday.
The official said that the work on the twin-tube 880-metre tunnel, part of the highway realignment project, started in 2020.
Now our focus will be on Jaiswal Bridge and the double-lane of Ramban Flyover and the Banihal Bypass which are expected to be completed by the end of this Month and 15 April respectively.
To complete projects on time, traffic dry days are being observed every week on the highway, he said.
Official said that opening this tunnel will put an end to the threat of shooting stones which have consumed numerous human lives.
Pertinently in February, Chief Secretary Arun Kumar Mehta while taking stock of the construction works on the tunnel had directed the NHAI to make all efforts to open the T5 tunnel on the Panthiyal stretch of the highway by March 15, Jaiswal Bridge by March 31, and the double-lane of Ramban Flyover and the Banihal Bypass by April 15.
Notably, the four-lane project of the 270-km highway, the only all-weather road linking Kashmir with the rest of the country, started in 2011. The work, which included a number of small and major tunnels, bridges and flyovers, is likely to be completed by next year after missing several deadlines over the past decade.