Srinagar: India’s longest road tunnel on Srinagar-Jammu Highway is likely miss the May 2016 deadline after the contractor stopped the work over a billing issue.
According to the Economic Times, just over a kilometer of excavation was left to complete the nine-km-long tunnel on the Chenani-Nashri section on the highway.
Excavation work has stopped some three months ago because of the dispute between project concessionaire IL&FS Transportation Network and the construction contractor, Leighton India Contractors, the report said.
According to people associated with the project, IL&FS Transportation is in talks with four contractors to complete the project and has appointed a Srinagar-based construction company to manage the excavation part. After the excavation is over, the tunnel would require installation of lighting, line-finishing, ventilation and other technical work.
“There was some dispute over billing between the two companies as a result of which the work stopped,” the Economic Times quoted RP Singh, project director of the National Highway Authority of India, as saying.
“We are told IL&FS is talking to some companies and the work shall resume soon.” Singh said almost 70% of the work is over.
As per the report the tunnel at the foot of the Himalayan Mountains is a keypart of the highway upgrade work currently under way between Udhampur and Jammu.
The whole project will cut about 46 kms from the current Jammu-Srinagar distance of 294 kms, but reduce travel time by around three hours as the new section will bypass some hazardous and accident prone stretches comprising sharp curves, hairpin bends and steep grades on the current route.
The all-weather road is also expected to reduce snow related traffic disruptions during winter, the report said.