Nitin Gadkari on Wednesday said economising the construction cost of tunnels without compromising safety is the need of the hour.
He also said that India chose to construct tunnels as it has some of the most difficult mountain terrains in the world.
Addressing an international webinar on ‘Road Tunnel Recent Trends, Innovations and Way Forward’, Gadkari said in India, the capital cost of construction of tunnels is very high.
‘India has some of the most difficult mountain terrains in the world, therefore India chose to construct tunnels…Economising the cost of construction of tunnel with minimum construction period without compromising safety is need of the hour,’ the Road Transport and Highways Minister said.
Gadkari said his ministry is planning to construct 270 km of tunnel on a detailed project report (DPR) basis.
‘Our national highway length is 1.37 lakh km and carries 40 per cent of traffic. The government expects that 70-80 of freight traffic will move on national highways from 40 per cent now.
‘On national highways in India, aggregate 31 km length of tunnel is operational and 106 km is under implementation,’ he noted.
Gadkari said that modern technology needs to be implemented in the construction of tunnels.
‘Without compromising with safety, we need to reduce the capital cost of construction of tunnels by using successful practices, which are already available in the world,’ he said.
The minister said he is raising capital from the market to reduce the cost of projects.
By developing smart cities, roadway amenities and other facilities near tunnels, revenue generation can be increased, he added.
Gadkari highlighted the need to look at ways to create tunnels and immersed tunnels under the rivers and sea using pre-cast technology.
The minister said the government is building the Delhi-Mumbai Expressway and now in Mumbai, he wants to connect it to Nariman Point.
Also speaking at the event, Union minister of state for road transport and highways Vijay Kumar Singh said tunnels are today a very important part of the communication strategy.