Union Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari on Tuesday will inaugurate a 1,210-meter-long bridge over the Ravi river in Jammu and Kashmir which would reduce the distance between Kathua in Jammu and Pathankot in Punjab by around 36 km.
Constructed at a cost of Rs 158.84 crore, the bridge would improve inter-state connectivity and benefit over 2,20,000 people living on the two sides -- Kathua in Jammu and Pathankot in Punjab.
"The bridge will also reduce the distance between the two cities from 45 kilometres to 8.6 kilometres, which will save on both time and fuel cost", a Ministry statement said.
The government said the national highway network in Jammu and Kashmir had seen an increase of 969 km in the last four years with the total length rising from 1,695 km in 2014 to 2,664 km in 2018.
"Number of national highways has also gone up from seven to 14. New national highways of 969 km were announced during the period. In addition, four state roads of 400 km have also been approved," it said.
As part of the Prime Minister's Development Package (PMDP) for J&K announced in 2015, the Road Transport and Highways Ministry is executing 16 projects worth Rs 45,107 crore, of which, works worth Rs 30,000 crore have already started, the Ministry said.
"Two major road corridors are being built in J&K -- Jammu-Srinagar and Srinagar-Leh. The Chenani-Nashri tunnel road under the first is the largest highway tunnel in the country. It has resulted in reducing the travel time between Jammu and Srinagar by two and a half hours, while the distance between the two has come down by 30 km.
"The Zojila Tunnel for connecting Srinagar with Leh will be Asia's longest 14.2 km long two-lane tunnel, which will prove to be a milestone all-weather road in the forward region. This strategically important tunnel will drastically reduce the travel time from three and a half hours to just 15 minutes.
It added that a 62-km long four-lane ring road was being constructed in the Srinagar city at the cost of Rs 1,860 crore which will connect 54 villages in six districts.
"About 25 per cent work on the 58.255 km four-lane Jammu ring road has been completed," it said. To be built at a cost of Rs 1,891 crore, the project involves construction of eight major bridges, 22 minor bridges, six flyovers, and two tunnels of 770 and 710 meters.
(With agency inputs)