The Bold Voice of J&K

Key Maroge tunnel on Jammu-Srinagar national highway thrown open

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JAMMU: Authorities on Saturday dedicated to the public a 645-metre segment comprising the two-lane Maroge tunnel and a viaduct along the Jammu-Srinagar national highway and bypassing a major landslide-prone area in Ramban district.

The new stretch will shorten the travel distance by 200 metres and help commuters bypass the Sita Ram Passi landslide-prone area, Union Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari said while announcing the completion of the segment on his social media handle.

“This transformative development not only contributes to the region’s economic growth but also enhances its appeal as a premier tourist destination,” the minister said on X, sharing four pictures of the newly constructed viaduct and the tunnel.

“In Jammu & Kashmir, we have successfully completed the construction of a 250-metre viaduct (2-lane) in conjunction with a 395-metre (2-lane) Maroge tunnel, at an estimated cost of Rs 82 crore,” Gadkari said in his post.

“This infrastructure is situated along Ramban to Banihal section of NH-44 (Srinagar-Jammu national highway). This 645-metre segment, as part of the larger project, will not only shorten the travel distance by 200 metres, reducing steep gradients, but also provide an alternative route bypassing the well-known Sita Ram Passi slide area. Furthermore, it facilitates the smooth flow of vehicles, bypassing the challenging Maroge area gradients,” the minister added.

“Under the visionary leadership of Hon’ble PM Shri @narendramodi Ji, we steadfastly uphold our commitment to delivering exceptional highway infrastructure to Jammu & Kashmir,” Gadkari said in his post.

The work on the four-laning project of the 270-km highway, the only all-weather road linking Kashmir with the rest of the country, was started by the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) in 2011.

Construction of the highway, which would include several small and large tunnels, bridges and flyovers, is likely to be completed by next year, after missing several deadlines over the past decade.

Earlier in March, the NHAI dedicated the 880-metre T-5 tunnel to the public, providing much-needed relief to the commuters as it bypassed the most vulnerable stretch of Panthyal. Besides this, several other tunnels including the one-tube of Kunfer tunnel also got completed, while the Ramban flyover was thrown open to traffic in June.

The most critical stretch of 66 km of the highway passes through the Ramban district from the Nashri tunnel to the Banihal tunnel. Work is in progress on several other tunnels, bridges and viaducts on this stretch, which on completion will bypass other critical spots and ensure comfortable travel. (PTI)

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