The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) has begun construction on Phase-I of the Kangra-Shimla four-lane national highway project between Kangra and Ranital. The 225-km project will be divided into five packages and will include nine tunnels and four high-rise bridges, bypassing major towns such as Darlaghat, Bilaspur, Hamirpur, and Jwalamukhi. Three toll plazas will be built at Ghanatti, Hamirpur, and Jwalamukhi, with a speed limit of 60 km per hour. The travel time between Kangra and Ranital will be reduced from six hours to four hours, and the project will minimize sharp curves and fuel consumption.
The use of grid-based road technology, which saves hills from vertical cutting, will make the Kangra-Shimla highway the first of its kind to be built in view of the fragile hills of the state and repeated landslides on highways. The first lane is built on a higher slope and the second lane on a lower slope, creating a grid of two separate roads running parallel on the hills. The longest tunnel will be constructed between Shalaghat and Piplu Ghat, reducing maintenance costs and providing a safe passage.