Union Minister for Road Transport & Highways and MSMEs Shri Nitin Gadkari today inaugurated the breakthrough event of Chamba Tunnel under Chardham Pariyojana through video conference mode. Border Roads Organisation (BRO) achieved this major milestone by digging up a 440 m long Tunnel below the busy Chamba town on Rishikesh-Dharasu road Highway (NH 94). The breakthrough was completed amidst the threat of COVID-19 and nationwide lockdown. The construction of the tunnel was a challenging task in terms of weak soil strata, continuous water seepage, heavily built-up area on top thereby chances of sinking of houses, land acquisition issues, restrictions during COVID lockdown, etc.
Speaking on the occasion, the Minister said, this Rishikesh-Dharasu-Gangotri road in Uttarakhand has a very significant role from a socio-economic and religious point of view. He said, the opening of this tunnel will ease out congestion through the Chamba town and reduce the distance by one kilometer and the journey through the town will take only ten minutes as compared to thirty minutes earlier. Shri Gadkari lauded BRO for working in some of the very difficult terrains and ensuring the implementation of critical projects. He said that he has been informed about the completion of the project by October 2020, ie, three months ahead of the schedule.
Director-General of Border Roads Organisation, Lt Gen Harpal Singh said, BRO started the work on North Portal of this tunnel in Jan 2019 but work on South Portal could be started only after Oct 2019 due to stiff resistance from locals on account of safety concerns and compensation issues. To compensate for the loss in time, day and night working shifts along with the use of modern technology facilitated the breakthrough. BRO is a key stakeholder in the prestigious Chardham project and the breakthrough of this tunnel has been achieved by Team Shivalik. The latest Austrian technology has been used in its construction. The tunnel will be through for traffic by October this year, almost three months before its scheduled date of completion.
Under the prestigious Chardham Project costing around Rs 12,000 Crore with an approximate length of 889 Km, BRO is constructing 250 Km of National Highways leading to holy shrine Gangotri and Badrinath. The majority of the works are progressing ahead of schedule and BRO is slated to complete four projects by October this year.
BRO has been entrusted 251 Km of stretches costing Rs 3000 Cr approx consisting of 17 Projects on-road Rishikesh – Dharasu (NH-94) from Km 28 onwards of 99 Km length, Dharasu- Gangotri Highway (NH-108) of 110 Km length and Joshimath to Mana ( NH-58) of 42 Km length. Out of these, 10 Projects consisting of 151 Km road length have been sanctioned which are worth Rs 1702 Cr and works are under progress as under:-
(i) Rishikesh – Dharasu( NH-94), 99 Km length (Five projects).
(ii) Dharasu- Gangotri Highway (NH-108), 22 Km length (Two projects). Five projects of BESZ are yet to be sanctioned.
BRO is slated to complete four Projects aggregating a length of 53 Km out of 10 ongoing projects ahead of their scheduled, date of completion as under:-
- Dharasu- Gangotri Highway (NH-108) KM 110-123 by June 2020.
- Rishikesh- DharasuHighway (NH-94) Km28-59 by July 2020.
- Rishikesh- Dharasu Highway (NH-94) Km 59-65 including Chamba Tunnel by October 2020.
- Chinialisaur bye-pass on Rishikesh- Dharasu Highway (NH-94) by October 2020.
A Tunnel of 440 mtr length to decongest busy Chamba town is being constructed out of these 10 projects. This is a Horse shoe type tunnel with 10 mtr carriage way width and 5.5 mtr vertical clearance. The sanctioned cost of this tunnel is 107.07 Crore. The awarded cost is Rs 86 Crore, including 43 Crore for Tunnel and 43 Crore for 4.2 Km approach roads to tunnel.