By Our Staff Reporter
Dehradun, 14 Aug: Tunnelling is an art and complexity is its beauty, and this is truly manifested in the Silkyara-Bend- Barkot Tunnel Project with escape passage in Northern Himalayas. It is being constructed by NHIDCL at Dharasu ˗ Barkot ˗ Yamunotri Road (NH-94/134),Located on a Char Dham route it connects Gangotri and Yamunotri Dhams.
This is one of the most prestigious highway tunnel projects currently under execution in Himalayas. It is a bi-directional tunnel of 4.531 km with two lanes. Its excavated diameter is of 14 m. The tunnel is about a four hour drive from Dehradun. The terrain, topography, accessibility, climate, geology, and hydrogeology of this location make it one of the most challenging projects under execution in the world. Rodic Consultants Pvt Ltd are the Engineering Authority appointed for the supervision of this project.
Commenting on the development, Raj Kumar, CMD, Rodic Consultants Pvt Ltd said, “It is a matter of huge pride for Rodic Consultants to be an important part of this dream project located in the Himalayan region. This is truly a challenging task, given the geo-location of the site and the environmental norms of the location. Significant work has been done for the excavation, bridging and hauling process. Once completed, this tunnel will not only facilitate easy access to Uttarakhand’s pilgrimage sites but also enable the development of backward areas, connect new trade centres, and serve the resident population with better economic prospects.”
The tunnel after completion will reduce a difficult mountainous road length of 35 km to just 4.537 km. Its setting in the pristine beauty of lesser Himalayas among the pine forest would attract lots of tourist. Yamunotri is just about 50 km from this tunnel. It will provide easy access to devotees to Badrinath and Kedarnath.
At surface most of the slopes along tunnel alignment is covered with overburden soil having thick pine forest. Barkot and Silkyara are the two ends of the tunnel. Once completed, both these places are expected to experience an economic boom. Land prices are already witnessing a steep hike in anticipation. The region is witnessing huge construction activities with many hotels and resorts coming up in the area which may boost the tourism in Uttarkashi to a great extent.
Apart from being a tourist and devotee attraction this mega-structure is also going to be an engineering marvel considering the challenges that is being faced for its construction. Around ninety percent of the tunnel is being excavated in phyllite which is very weak rock.
New Austrian Tunnelling Method (NATM) is used for construction of the tunnel. NATM is a method of modern tunnel design and construction employing sophisticated monitoring to optimise various wall reinforcement techniques based on the type of rock encountered as tunnelling. It is expected that this national asset will be completed and commissioned in 2022.