National Highway Project
Placing the road building process on the fast track, the Union Ministry of Roads Transport and Highways has recently given its approval to the proposal of allocating an additional Rs 11,000cr for the widening of the 79-km treacherous and toughest Udhampur to Banihal section of the Jammu-Srinagar highway. Now the proposal heads for the Union Cabinet approval after which the highway project will be awarded to the winning contractor. The road widening is the part of the ambitious project of the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) for the four-laning of the 286-km-long stretch of the Jammu-Srinagar highway, which will end the isolation of Kashmir Valley with the rest of the country during harsh and snowy winters.

Ministry sources said adding that the four-laning project has been divided into six sub-projects, which included widening of Jammu-Udhampur road (65 km), Chenani-Nashri tunnel (9.2 km), widening of Ramban-Udhampur road (43 km), Banihal-Ramban road (36 km), Qazigund-Banihal road (15.25 km) and Srinagar-Banihal road (67.7 km) and the recent clearance involved the widening of the Udhampur-Ramban and Ramban-Banihal stretches for which the tenders to execute the four-laning work are yet to be awarded, said Project Director NHAI, Jammu, RP Singh adding that the agency supervised the widening of the highway from Jammu to Banihal, and the estimated cost of the four sub-projects-other than the widening of the Ramban-Udhampur road (43-km) and the Banihal-Ramban road (36 km)-was over Rs 9,000cr. The project is being executed at a faster pace and the work on four-laning of the 65-km stretch of the highway from Jammu to Udhampur will be completed by June next year. This stretch of the project includes two major tunnels viz the country's longest road tunnel between Chenani and Nashri and the 8.5-km-long Quazigund-Banihal tunnel, besides the 6.2-km long 12 short tunnels, 34 major bridges and 24 viaducts and the entire project will be completed by May 2016, he added.