Chenani-Nashri Highway Tunnel
Dr. Shyama Prasad Mookerjee Tunnel, also known as Shyama Tunnel, and formerly as Chenani-Nashri Highway Tunnel, is a road tunnel in Jammu and Kashmir, India. It is not only the longest tunnel in India but also Asia’s longest bi-directional road tunnel.
The 9.2 km (5.7 mi) long road tunnel that drills through the lower Himalayas between Chenani in the Udhampur area and Nashri in the Ramban region is an accomplishment of engineering that developed India’s first innovative SOS system to remotely control everything from the movement of vehicles to the inflow and surge of air, and even the evacuation of travelers or vehicles in trouble. It is an “all-weather” tunnel and enables an improvement in trade and tourism in the state. The tunnel also has parking places in case of vehicle breakdowns.
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The tunnel is located at an altitude of roughly 1200 m (3,937 ft), will be the first in India to be equipped with a world-class “combined tunnel control system” through which ventilation, fire control, signals, communication, and electrical systems will be automatically monitored. The tunnel is constructed with fire safety standards. As soon as sensors detect fire, a safety protocol will hit, and the pushing of fresh air will hold and only exhausts will work. Longitudinal exhaust fans placed at regular intervals will focus on 100 m on each side of the fire, forcing the smoke upward. Ambulances or vehicles carrying foam will hurry through the escape tunnel to vacate commuters and work on the fire.
The tunnel is starting from Chenani town south of Patnitop in NH44 to Nashri village north of Patnitop. The tunnel reduced the travel time between Jammu and its capital by two-and-a-half hours. The road distance from Chenani and Nashri is now 10.2 km, instead of 40 km. The maximum speed limit permitted for vehicles plying inside twin tunnel tubes is 50 km per hour with headlights on at low beam. Heavy Vehicles carrying inflammable elements are prevented from entering this longest tunnel.
The tunnel was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 2 April 2017. The development involved nearly 1,500 engineers, geologists, and laborers, besides skillful workers. The National Highways Authority of India(NHAI) had spent approx ₹3,720 crores on the tunnel project.
India has one more highway tunnel that is Atal Tunnel build under the Rohtang Pass on the Leh-Manali Highway. This is the longest tunnel in the world above 10,000 ft. This highway tunnel reduces the travel time and total distance between Manali and Keylong while going to Lahaul-Spiti