New Delhi, India (Urban Transport News): The Government of India is planning to build its first underwater road-cum-rail tunnels across the Brahmaputra river in Assam at an estimated cost of Rs 7,000 crore. The Ministry of Railways and Ministry of Road Transport & Highways (MoRTH) jointly said the project is being planned along with the Border Road Organisation (BRO).
According to the plan, three tunnels will be constructed in the project, out of which one will be for roadways, the second for railways, and the third for emergency purposes, and all of them will be inter-connected with cross passages.
The length of each tunnel will be 9.8 km long and will integrate the railway and highways via the Jamurihat-Silghat axis towards Assam and Arunachal Pradesh. The tunnels can be used for both civilian and strategic purposes and they will take off from about 9 km upstream of the existing Kaliabhomora (Tezpur) road bridge.
The tunnels will act as a point of connection between the Dhaliabil railway station on the northern bank of the Brahmaputra and the Jakhlabandha railway station on the south bank.
"After discussion on the issue, it was decided that since rail-cum-road underwater tunnel alignment is an essential requirement of the Ministry of Defence, the same may be considered further by the Northeast Frontier Railway subject to technical suitability,'' said minutes of a meeting chaired by Ministry of Railway.
However, the cost estimate needs to be revisited by BRO and should be done carefully. The BRO/Road Transport Ministry was also advised to confirm the funding of the project.
The project will be funded by three ministries - the Ministry of Railways, the Ministry of Road Transport & Highways and the Ministry of Defence to make it an engineering marvel and also benefit the nation.
Previously, a project with an estimated expenditure of Rs 12,800 crore was proposed by the National Highways and Infrastructure Development Corporation Limited (NHIDCL) to build twin tunnels only for vehicles which were later dropped.