Z-Morh Tunnel, Main Tunnel on the left, Escape Tube on the right
As part of the strategic projects for ensuring round-the-year connectivity between Kashmir valley and Ladakh region, work on the Z-Morh Tunnel Project and Zojila Tunnel Project is going ahead of schedule and is likely to be completed before time, officials from the National Highway Infrastructure Development Corp (NHIDCL) said.
While the 6.5-km Z-Morh tunnel is expected to be completed by next year, ahead of the target date of December 2023, the 14.15 km Zojila tunnel is also scheduled to be completed ahead of the target date of 2026, NHIDCL officials said.
Both the tunnels are quite significant in nature and will help to keep the Union Territory (UT) of Ladakh connected for the whole year with the rest of the country. The tunnels will also boost the Tourism Sector of both the UTs and keep the hassle-free movement of the armed forces during any weather conditions.
Zojila Pass is the strategic link connecting the Leh-Ladakh region to Srinagar in Jammu & Kashmir, and with the rest of India. The region however does not have all-weather connectivity, especially to Leh, the capital of the Union Territory of Ladakh. This has adversely impacted the transport sector, thereby affecting the economy of the region.
The Z-Morh tunnel is being developed by Apco Infratech Pvt Ltd at an estimated cost of Rs 2,300 crore.
The escape tunnel of the Z-Morh tunnel has been inaugurated today and will be open for use for the common man connecting Srinagar and Sonamarg.
Historically, the roads between Srinagar and Sonamarg get covered in snow from November to March and are also prone to avalanches, restricting the movement between the two places.
The escape tube of the Z-Morh tunnel will help the locals of Sonamarg get supplies during the winter and sustain through the winter in Sonamarg, instead of historically migrating to Srinagar before the winter hits.
The escape tunnel will also reduce the distance between Gagangiri and Sonawal from 11 km to 6.5 km.
The Zojila tunnel is being developed by Megha Engineering and Infrastructures (MEIL) at an estimated cost of Rs 4,600 crores.
MEIL commenced works on the Zojila tunnel project immediately after bagging it in October 2020.
Once the Tunnel is completed, travel between Srinagar and Ladakh throughout the year will become possible. While the distance will be reduced (from Baltal to Minamarg) from 40 km to 13 km, travel time too will be reduced by 1.5 hours between the two Union Territories.
A connecting tunnel from Z-Morh in the National Highway-1 to Zojila tunnel will be constructed in the Zojila Ghats between Sonamarg and Kargil. The entire work is divided into two divisions in the 33 km span.
The first part involves the development and expansion of the 18.475 km highway between Z-Morh to Zojila. Along this alignment, about 3.018 km highway stretch will be expanded. The remaining portion of the highway (13.842 km) will be freshly developed. This highway consists of two twin-tube tunnels. Two snow galleries will also be built.