Five-kilometer-long mountain tunnel works completed in 14 months
Megha Engineering & Infrastructures Limited (MEIL), based in Hyderabad, has reached a milestone by completing the works of a 5 km long tunnel, as part of the 18 km long all-weather Zojila tunnels in a record 14 month.
The National Highways and Infrastructure Development Corporation Ltd (NHIDCL) project executed by the MEIL, is envisaged to ensure connectivity between Srinagar and Ladakh throughout the year without any interruption.
The Zojila tunnels – Nilgrar 1, 2 and the main Zojila tunnel – are executed quickly, despite adverse weather conditions such as snowfall and blizzards at a high altitude of 3,528 meters above the average level of the Wed.
The Zojila project, the longest two-way tunnel in Asia, is also an ambitious development project in India for strategic reasons.
Zojila Tunnel Project Manager Harpal Singh said, “Our team executed this project under the toughest conditions with dedication and hard work.
The current winter has witnessed the highest snowfall in Jammu and Kashmir’s history, with temperatures dropping as low as -30 degrees Celsius (minus 30 degrees).
The project includes three tunnels, four bridges, snow protection structures, culverts, a check dam, a deflector dam, a cover tunnel and many engineering feats.
In an earlier visit, Union Minister for Roads and Transport, Nitin Gadkari, praised MEIL’s efforts to execute the project at a rapid pace.
The minister said the project would improve socio-economic conditions, transportation and tourism in Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh.
The Infrastructure major has won the all-weather connectivity project (Zojila project) linking Kashmir Valley to Ladakh on October 1, 2020. The total length of the project is 32 kilometers and is divided into two parts.
Part I of the 18 km project connects Sonamarg and Taltal, with major bridges and twin tunnels. The T1 tunnel has two tubes provided.
The MEIL started work on the project in May 2021, after the construction of the access roads. Tunneling through the Himalayas is always a daunting task, but MEIL dug both tunnels with the highest level of safety, quality and speed within a specific time frame.
Work on the main Zojila tunnel, 13.3 km long, is also in full swing. MEIL made a 600m lead from Ladakh and 300m from the Kashmir side. Project completion (September 2026) is on track and on schedule.