Z-Morh tunnel in Srinagar-Leh highway

Z-Morh tunnel in Srinagar-Leh highway

The weather was symbolic of the harsh winter conditions that sever Sonamarg, Kargil, Leh and Ladakh from Srinagar and the rest of the country till May.
The 6.5 km-long tunnel gets its name from its Z formation between here and Gagangir that would avoid the regions of snowfall and avalanches and ensure connectivity with Srinagar. The two-lane, 10 metre-wide tunnel will be constructed at a cost of Rs. 2,716.90 crore. It will also include an egress of 3.5 metres to be used in emergency.
1,000 vehicles an hour
The tunnel, located 2,637 metres above sea level, will ensure the passage of 1,000 vehicles an hour at an approved maximum speed of 80 km per hour.
The Z-Morh tunnel is the first of the two proposed tunnels, which together will provide all-weather connectivity between Srinagar-Kargil-Leh and Ladakh.
The second — the Zojila Tunnel — of 13.8 km length just about 20 km away from this point is estimated to cost Rs. 5,500 crore and is likely to be approved by the Union government soon. The foundation for this tunnel is likely to be laid in April.
The Border Roads Organisation (BRO) is executing the project. Its bidding will be finalised in a week or two. BRO DG Lt.-Gen. S. Ravi Shankar said he was confident the project would be completed ahead of the August 2018 deadline.
Supporting these two tunnels are the Chenani-Nashri and Banihal-Quazigund tunnels, which are under construction to ensure connectivity with the valley and Jammu and the rest of the country.
Less travel time
Once all four tunnels are put in place, the journey from Jammu to Ladakh will be reduced from 50 to about 30 hours. The entire stretch will become motorable throughout the year.
“Any tourist can reach Ladakh in less than 24 hours once the tunnel is constructed,” said taxi driver Bilal, who currently makes the trip in about 48 hours.
The 6.5 km-long Z Morh tunnel will avoid the regions of snowfall. The work on the 6.5 km-long Z-Morh tunnel on the strategic Srinagar-Leh highway in central Kashmir would be completed by 2020, officials said.
Divisional Commissioner Kashmir, Baseer Ahmad Khan, yesterday convened a meeting to review the progress of the prestigious Z-Morh tunnel project, an official spokesman said.
He said the meeting was informed that a Hyderabad-based construction company ‘APCO’ was awarded the contract for the construction of Z-Morh tunnel and the work on the 6.5 km tunnel near Gagenger in Sonamarg, in central Kashmir’s Ganderbal district, would be completed by 2020.
The spokesman said currently 800 workers were working on the project, out of which almost 50 per cent were locals.
On the occasion, the Divisional Commissioner directed the officials of the executing agency to devise a comprehensive local area development plan in consultation with deputy commissioner and SSP Ganderbal for the upliftment of the local area, the spokesman said.
He said for the safety of the area, Khan directed the agency to get the audit report for storing of explosive materials through SSP Ganderbal.
Representatives of the executing agency appraised the divisional commissioner about various issues like frequent halting of vehicles carrying construction material, levying taxes on the trucks, deployment of central security forces at the project sites for the security of labours and other related issues.
Khan directed the concerned to redress the issues put forth on priority so that the work on this prestigious project was completed within the stipulated timeframe, the spokesman said.
The tunnel would provide all-weather road connectivity to Sonamarg tourist spot, which mostly remains closed during the winters due to heavy snowfall in Gagenger area.
The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways of India has awarded Eptisa a project to carry out independent engineering services for the construction, operation and maintenance of the Z-Morh tunnel in the state of Jammu and Kashmir.
The Z-Morh tunnel , located 2637 meters above sea level, is a two-lane tunnel with parallel 6.5 km long escape tunnel on a new alignment between Gagangir and Sonamarg under Srinagar-Leh section of NH-1 that will provide all weather connectivity between Srinagar and Leh.
At present, Ladakh remains cut off for six to seven months of the year during winter due to heavy snowfall on the Jammu-Srinagar-Zozila-Kargil-Leh and the Manali-Sarchu-Leh routes that connect Leh to the rest of the country. It can only be reached by air during the winter months. The weather is extremely chilly during the winter months and characterized by snowfall and avalanches. The stretch between Srinagar and Leh is not only important for the strategic interests of the Indian Army, but also for the socio-economic well-being of the people of Ladakh and holistic development of the state.
Eptisa will review drawings and documents along with detailed design, construction methodology, quality assurance procedures and procurement, engineering and construction time schedule, inspect and monitor the construction works. It will also conduct tests on completion of construction and issue completion certificates. Finally, during the operation phase, it will monitor the operation and maintenance.

Watch video

Comments are closed.