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SONMARG : Road works totalling 1.5 lakh crore are being undertaken in the Union Territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh, Union Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari said here today. 

Gadkari who inspected the construction of Z-Morh Tunnel and the Zojila tunnel on September 28 in Sonmarg, Jammu and Kashmir, said these projects will increase tourism opportunities and employment for the region, there by uplifting the local economy.

The Zojila tunnel, which is likely to be ready by September 2026, is a 13.5-km tunnel and will be Asia’s longest bi-directional tunnel allowing all-weather connectivity between Ladakh and Srinagar, which are cut off from each other  during the winter months due to heavy snowfall. It is located at 11,578 feet above sea level.

“It takes 3.5 hours to travel between Srinagar and Ladakh. The tunnel will reduce the travel time to 15 minutes. I urge the companies to complete the construction work by 2023, before the general elections in 2024," Gadkari added. 

Infrastructure major, Megha Engineering & Infrastructure Ltd. (MEIL), is constructing the tunnel project ‘Zojila’ in Himalayas in the hard terrain conditions in EPC mode.

The project which was first mooted in 2012 has seen delays before it took off in 2018.  The tunnel and the approach road together cost 4,500 crore. The project has seen long delays after multiple failed bids since 2013.

Gadkari added that J&K will get 20 tunnels of 32 km in length and Ladakh, 11 tunnels of 20 km. 

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