IRB Infra to construct Rs 10050 cr Zojilla tunnel

Sonmarg Zojila road

IRB Infrastructure Developers has bagged Rs 10050 crore order to construct the Zojilla tunnel on Srinagar-Kargil-Leh highway in Jammu and Kashmir.

The company has received a Letter of Award (LoA) from the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways for the construction, operation and maintenance of the longest tunnel in South-East Asia, Zojilla pass tunnel, in Jammu & Kashmir, a statement issued here said.

“It is the biggest national highway project awarded in India in terms of project cost with a tunnel length spanning 14.08 km and costing of Rs 10050 crore,” company’s Chairman and Managing Director Virendra Mhaiskar said.

The scope of the project includes constructing approaches on NH-1 (Srinagar-Sonamarg-Gumri Road) on design, build, finance, operate and transfer (annuity) basis.

“This project has a strategic and socio-economic importance as it will provide the much-needed all-weather connectivity between Kashmir valley and Ladakh, which remains cut-off during winter due to heavy snowfall and hence assumes national importance,” he said.

The project also involves construction of tunnel spanning a length of 14.08 km and an approach road of 10.8 Km with three vertical ventilation shafts, snow gallery of 700 meters and avalanche protection measures.

The construction of the tunnel is scheduled to be completed in seven years and the concession period is 22 years.

The funding for the construction of the Zojilla tunnel was recently announced in the Rs 80000 crore Prime Minister’s Reconstruction Plan for Jammu and Kashmir.

Pertinently, work is already in progress on another tunnel near Z-Morh, 20 kms away from Zojilla pass, on Srinagar-Kargil-Leh highway.

Coming up at a cost of Rs 2716.90 crore, the Z-Morh tunnel is expected to be completed by 2017. The 6.5 km long tunnel will connect Gagangeer directly with Sonamarg.

Once the two tunnels are put in place, the journey time from Kashmir to Ladakh will be reduced drastically and the entire stretch will become motorable throughout the year.