A new two-lane tunnel coming up at Dhalli, at a cost of ₹55 crore, will help ease traffic congestion in Shimla, Himachal chief minister (CM) Jai Ram Thakur said on Sunday.
He said the construction of the tunnel will be complete by August next year.
The CM said this while he was being briefed about the proposed alignment on Shimla bypass four-laning project from Kaithlighat to Dhalli section, and construction of a highway tunnel parallel to the Dhalli tunnel under the Shimla Smart City Mission.
The CM was apprised that five tunnels were required to be constructed on the Kaithlighat-Dhalli section. The present proposal of twin tunnels from Bhattakufar to Dhalli will completely bypass the urban area and bare minimum forest area/structures will be impacted during the construction of this four lane project.
Thakur said that the present proposal of this four-lane bypass must have negligible effect on the lives of residents of the area. He expressed hope that separate twin tunnel proposed to connect the Sanjauli bypass will ensure better connectivity to the people of Shimla town.
He also felt the need for improvement of Dhalli junction and Dhalli bypass. He suggested that since the construction of tunnels involves huge muck generation, efforts must be made for creating facilities like stadium etc. on these dumping sites for best utilisation of the land. He directed the officers of National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) to ensure time-bound completion of this project so that benefits could be derived in time.
Thakur said that Dhalli tunnel was over 175 years old and had outlived its design life. This tunnel has become a bottleneck as it connects upper Shimla area, Mandi, Kullu as well as Kinnuar districts. He said that the government has decided to construct a parallel two-lane tunnel along this tunnel to ensure smooth plying of vehicles.