Bihar to get 5km tunnel in Kaimur, as part of Varanasi-Kolkata eway

The NHAI has recently notified Varanasi-Kolkata expressway as NH319B and started to process to build road at the cost of around ₹35,000 crore

Kolkata-Varanasi Expressway

Patna: Very soon, Bihar will be home to one of the longest road tunnels in the country. The National Highways Authority of India (NAHI) has proposed to build a five-km-long six-lane tunnel in Kaimur plateau of Bihar as part of the 610-km Varanasi-Kolkata expressway. The NHAI has recently notified the expressway as NH319B and started to process to build the road at the cost of around ₹35,000 crore.

The long-awaited Varanasi-Kolkata expressway will connect four districts each of Bihar and Jharkhand before entering West Bengal through Purulia district. “The process of land acquisition would be expedited once the NHAI gave a distinctive identity,” said an engineer of the Bihar’s road construction department (RCD).

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Starting from Varanasi, the road will enter in Bihar at Chand, bordering Chaudali in Uttar Pradesh and exit at Imamganj in Gaya after covering a distance of about 160 km. A five-kilometre tunnel is proposed to be created in the Kaimur hills and cross the Sone river in Tilauthu of Sasaram to enter Aurangabad, along the Grand Trunk road. “The cost of construction is likely to go a bid up as the NHAI has proposed almost a straight alignment of it,” said a senior officer of NHAI, based at Patna.

The expressway will enter Jharkhand from Hunterganj in Chatra and make an exit to West Bengal’s Purulia district after passing through Hazaribag and Ramgarh. The Jharkhand RCD will connect the expressway with Ranchi’s ring road.

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Officials said that the travel time between Kolkata and Varanasi will be reduced to half once the expressway (NH319B) is complete. Currently, it takes around 12-14 to cover the distance (690km) between Varanasi and Kolkata. The road is also set to boost trade activities in Bihar as well, as the upcoming logistics park in Gaya will be linked to it. The consignment from Bihar will get easy access to Kolkata port for export of goods.

Major road tunnels

Shyama Prasad Mukherjee tunnel, measuring about 9.34km, is currently the longest road tunnel in India. Located about 4000 feet above the sea level in Jammu and Kashmir, the tunnel connects Chenani and Nashri. Atal tunnel is 9.02km long and it links Manali with Lahaul and Spiti valley.

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Banihal Qazigund Road Tunnel is 8.45 km tunnel, which reduces the distance between cities of Srinagar and Jammu by 16 km. Once built, Kaimur tunnel could be among the longest 5th or 6th road tunnel in India.

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