All-important T5 Panthyal tunnel opens for traffic, NHAI keeps deadline

Will bypass most-vulnerable stretch on highway: DC Ramban

Jahangeer Ganaie

Srinagar, Mar 16: In a big relief to commuters, the prestigious T5 tunnel of the four-lane road project at Panthyal between Ramban and Banihal has been thrown open for traffic on Thursday.

An official of the National Highway Authority of (NHAI) told that the approach road to the tunnel along other allied works were completed successfully on Wednesday and the tunnel has been thrown open for traffic on Thursday.

He said that the tunnel is going to help commuters to bypass the most vulnerable track on the National Highway in Panthayal.

He said that the work on the twin-tube 880-metre tunnel, part of the highway realignment project, started in 2020.

Our focus will be on Jaiswal Bridge and the double-lane of Ramban Flyover and the Banihal Bypass which are expected to be completed by the end of this Month and 15 April respectively.

To complete projects on time, traffic dry days are being observed every week on the highway, he said.

“3cheers for @NHAI_Official and its terrific Ground Zero team for diverting traffic thruTunnel T5. Bye Bye Panthyal's treacherous stretch!” DC Ramban Mussarat Zia tweeted.

Officials said that opening this tunnel will put an end to the threat of shooting stones which have consumed numerous human lives.

He said that opening of the T5 tunnel would end the fear of shooting stones forever along with frequent traffic jams on the stretch.

Pertinently in February, Chief Secretary Arun Kumar Mehta while taking stock of the construction works on the tunnel had directed the NHAI to make all efforts to open the T5 tunnel on the Panthiyal stretch of the highway by March 15, Jaiswal Bridge by March 31, and the double-lane of Ramban Flyover and the Banihal Bypass by April 15.

Notably, the four-lane project of the 270-km highway, the only all- road linking with the rest of the country, started in 2011. The work, which included a number of small and major tunnels, bridges and flyovers, is likely to be completed by next year after missing several deadlines over the past decade.