With the opening of Qazigund and Awantipora bypasses on Srinagar-Jammu highway for traffic today, the Srinagar-Qazigund section of the expressway is now fully operational significantly reducing the travel time.“It is a moment of great satisfaction for me to announce that the Srinagar-Qazigund expressway corridor is now fully operational for traffic with the opening of 4 KM Qazigund Bypass and 7.5 KM Awantipora Bypass,” Minister for Works, Naeem Akhtar said after commissioning the two stretches today.The Minister, accompanied by Minister of State for Forests, Mir Zahoor Ahmad, undertook extensive visit of the highway to personally take stock of the progress of work.Akhtar said that with the commissioning of all the four key stretches of the highway including Pampore Bypass, Awantipora Bypass, Bijbehara Bypass and Qazigund Bypass the travel time between Srinagar and Qazigund will be just around 1 hour now bypassing all the traffic bottlenecks.He said with the commissioning of 8.5 KM long new Banihal-Qazigund two-tube tunnel, the travel distance between Srinagar and Jammu would be further cut. “The executing agency has already achieved breakthrough on one tube of the tunnel and breakthrough on second tube is expected within next 15 days,” Akhtar said and added that if everything goes well, the tunnel would be ready for commissioning by the end of this year.
He said in another major initiative in the road communication sector in Kashmir, the work on Pampore-Narbal-Ganderbal semi-ring road project was allotted by NHAI today after completing the tendering process and other codal formalities. He said the 60 KM long semi-ring road taking off at Gallandar in Pampore and culminating at Manigam in Ganderbal would go a long way in decongesting the traffic in and around Srinagar city. “For the Jammu semi-ring road project, the tenders have already been invited and work is likely to be allotted soon,” he said and added that tenders have also been issued for four-laning of Jammu-Akhnoor road.Regarding National Highway-444, the Minister said that land acquisition is in progress for this new highway connecting Qazigund, Kulgam, Shopian, Pulwama and Srinagar. He said work has already been started on two major bridges on this highway including Brazlla bridge and Newa bridge.The Minister also reviewed status of work on Qazigund Circuit House, which is coming up at an estimated cost of Rs 5.80 lakh. It was given out that work on the Qazigund Circuit House has almost been completed and it would be commissioned soon.Responding to the concerns of a delegation of shopkeepers from Qazigund market, the Minister said that the Market would be developed as a tourist spot with various amenities for the visitors.The Minister paid a visit to the Housing Colony at Vessu, Qazigund where 512 flats, PHC, School and shops are being constructed at an estimated cost of Rs 166 crore.Akhtar also took stock of the progress of work on Jehangir Chowk-Rambagh flyover and asked the executing agency to expedite the work.The Minister was accompanied by DDC Anantnag, Mohammad Younis Malik, Chief Engineer R&B, Abdul Hamid, SE R&B Anantnag Circle, representatives of Ramkay and National Highway Authority of India.