The National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) on Wednesday said that it will undertake a safety audit of all 29 under-construction tunnels across the country to ensure safety and adherence to the highest quality standards during construction.

NHAI officials along with a team of experts from Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) as well as other tunnel experts will inspect the ongoing tunnel projects and will submit a report within seven days, the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) said.

With a total length of around 79 km, the 29 under-construction tunnels are spread over different locations across the country with 12 tunnels in Himachal Pradesh, six in Jammu and Kashmir, two each in Maharashtra, Odisha, Rajasthan and one each in Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, Chhattisgarh, Uttarakhand and Delhi, respectively, it added.

NHAI has also signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Konkan Railway Corporation (KRCL). Under which, KRCL will provide services for NHAI projects to review design, drawing and safety aspects related to tunnel construction and slope stabilisation.

KRCL will also conduct safety audits of tunnels and if required, suggest remedial measures. In addition to this, KRCL will organise training programmes for capacity building of NHAI officials. This agreement will remain in effect for a period of two years.

Earlier in September 2023, NHAI signed a similar agreement with DMRC, who will provide services for reviewing, planning, designing, construction and maintenance of tunnels, bridges and other structures on national highways across the country.

The exercise is being conducted after an under-construction tunnel at Silkyara in Uttarakhand collapsed on November 12, 2023.