Zoji La Tunnel is an upcoming project to create year long connectivity with Ladakh. Out of the two roads that connect Leh with rest of the country, Manali Leh highway is considered to be more difficult. However it remains to be a fact that Srinagar Leh highway too has its own share of difficulty and challenge. Though it remains open for a longer period, there are stretches on this road that are equally difficult and dangerous. The most treacherous part is at the Zoji La pass; which receives a lot of snow during winter; and it takes quite a while to clear it completely. There is still always a chance that it may close down at any time of the year; especially during monsoon, due to landslides.
Government has recently taken steps to create year long road connectivity to Ladakh region. Rohtang Tunnel and the new proposed road from Darcha to Zanskar to Leh are part of this plan. However it is important to create this connectivity from Srinagar side as well; and in order to do this, a new proposal for Zoji La tunnel has been made. This Rs. 9000 crore project however still remains on papers; and in my opinion it would be quite a while before it becomes a reality; considering that it took almost 27 years for Rohtang La tunnel work to begin; after the proposal was first made in 1983.
One may find it quite strange though that government started to work on the roads from Manali side first; considering the fact that it would have been much easier to create this year long connectivity from Srinagar side. To reach Leh from Manali during winter not only required a Rohtang La tunnel; but also a new road from Darcha to Zanskar and to Leh. It is agreed that Rohtang La tunnel would also connect the Lahaul region with Kullu valley; but in my opinion, rather than creating a new road from Darcha; work should have been first started to ensure that Srinagar Leh highway remains open all year long.
On another note, to keep Srinagar Leh highway open all year has also become more important after the Kargil War.
Interesting enough, government earlier wanted to make the tunnel in form of a toll road. The construction was to be in form of PPP mode; where private player was supposed to make the investment and later recover via toll tax. However despite calling bids for this project five times, not even one company showed interested and no bid came. The tunnel will now be built in EPC mode; wherein Government of India will provide the money; and the executing agency will do the construction; and will later hand over the project to Government of India.
Zoji La Tunnel
If you have any other information about this tunnel; that you would like to share, please feel free to do so in the comments section below; or at our Community Forum. Once completed, Zojila Tunnel will be 14 kilometers long; and along with Z-Morh Tunnel, which is 22 kilometers from Zoji-la tunnel towards Srinagar; will ensure year long road connectivity between Srinagar and Leh; which currently remains closed for about seven months due to snow.