HCC achieves day-lighting of Tunnel project in JK
Hindustan Construction Company (HCC) has achieved a major breakthrough of day-lighting the Pir Panjal Railway Tunnel, constructed in the rugged terrain of Pir Panjal Mountains in Jammu & Kashmir. The tunnel is part of the ambitious Udhampur-Srinagar–Baramulla rail link project of Northern Railways. At 10.96km long, the Pir Panjal Railway Tunnel is India’s longest and Asia’s 2nd longest tunnel, aimed at reducing the travel distance between Quazigund to Banihal to only 11 km and providing a hassle free travel up to Baramulla.
IRCON International Ltd, an autonomous constructing agency for Indian railway, was given the task to construct part of Udhampur–Srinagar–Baramulla rail link project from Dharam to Baramulla section. The railway line from Quazigund to Baramulla (119 km) was already completed by IRCON and it is operational to public since October 2009. In order to accelerate the balance work, the total length between Dharam to Quazigund section was divided into 6 Zones and the contract for the Zone–IV & V was awarded to HCC.
HCC was awarded the contract of Pir Panjal Railway Tunnel in August 2005 at a contract value of Rs391 crore. The engineering work included, construction of a tunnel having a finished width of 8.405 meters and height of 7.393 meter with a provision of 3m wide concrete road inside the tunnel throughout the length for maintenance & emergency relief purpose, and also construction of 772m long access tunnel section.
Due to the changing geological strata of the young Himalayan rock, New Australian Tunneling Methodology (NATM) was adopted for the construction. During survey, eight different types of geological strata were found in the entire length of the tunnel. To meet the challenge of this different geological requirement, 3 excavation techniques— Excavation by Tunnel Excavator, Excavation by Road header and Excavation by Drill & Blast method—were adopted in Pir Panjal Tunnel.
Additionally, the project was extremely challenging as this area falls under heavy snowfall region of Jammu & Kashmir, where temperatures go down to -10°C in winter.
This is going to be the longest Transportation Tunnel in India (10.96 km). Provision has been made for 3m wide concrete road inside the tunnel throughout the length (10.96 km) for maintenance & Emergency relief Purpose. This road is constructed adjacent to the railway track. The Pir Panjal tunnel passes approx 440m below the existing Jawahar Road Tunnel. The alignment of Pir Panjal tunnel crosses the NH – 1A at three locations. The total Excavation Quantity is of 11 lacks cum. Rock bolting of 3, 15,000m.