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Four new tunnels to be built on Salang Highway

in Afghan Business

Four new tunnels to be built on Salang Highway

Podlich_Afghanistan_009.sJPG_950_2000_0_75_0_50_50Officials of the Public Affairs Ministry said work on the construction of four new tunnels on Salang Highway are in the process.

Salang Highway is an important link between northern and southern Afghanistan crossing the Hindukush mountain range under the difficult Salang Pass, a major mountain pass connecting northern Afghanistan and Kabul province, with further connections to southern Afghanistan and Pakistan.

The Salang Tunnel was built 47 years ago by the Soviet Union. Decades of war and excessive vehicle density have exposed the tunnel to the risk of collapse.

Meanwhile, Public Affairs Ministry said the survey of the four new tunnels has been completed by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and engineers of the Ministry, adding that work on the design of the tunnels would soon begin.

The tunnels, from Pul-e-Khaki to Doshi and Wawlang to Do Shaakh, will help solve the transportation problems of the people.

Minister of Public Affairs Najibullah Awzhan  said the project will be implemented at a cost of USD 1.6bn with financial collaboration from the Asian Development Bank, World Bank, the USAID and other international aid donors.

At an altitude of 3,950m above the sea level, the Salang Tunnel is 2.7km long.

The tunnel was opened in 1964, during the reign of Daud Khan, and provided a year-round connection from the North and the Soviet Union to Kabul. The tunnel was the highest road tunnel in the world until 1973, when the United States built the Eisenhower Memorial Tunnel — just slightly higher and slightly longer — in the Rocky Mountains.

Salang Highway currently witnesses a high traffic of vehicles, with 8,000 vehicles passing the tunnel daily.

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