India gets blasting on longest road tunnel

5 September 2011

Engineers executed the first blast on India’s longest road tunnel on Friday.

Australia-based Leighton Welspun Contractors kicked off construction work on INR 26bn (USD 565.9M) Chenani-Nashri road tunnel project on the Jammu-Srinagar highway in Udhampur district, Jammu and Kashmir, India.

Work will include a 9km, 13.3m-diameter two lane main tunnel. A parallel escape tunnel will also be constructed with a diameter of 5m.

The tunnel will be 1,200m above sea level with overburden of up to 1km and will be constructed using NATM. The twin tunnels project will be completed within a period of five years.

The tunnel will cut the current distance between Chenani and Nashri from a treacherous journey of 30km to a 10km all-weather route and reduce travelling time by up to an hour.

Russell Waugh, managing director of Leighton Welspun Contractors said, “We are very pleased to see this nationally important project underway. It is not only a landmark project in the history of India’s transportation network but will bring increased safety and employment to the local community.”