Here are 10 interesting things about the Atal Tunnel connecting Manali with Leh:
The Atal tunnel project in Rohtang will give the army year-long access the Ladakh region, where border tensions with China is on the rise. The troops in the border region will no longer have to stock supplies during winters.
The tunnel, built by the Border Roads Organisation, reduces the distance between Manali and Leh by 46 km. It also reduces the travel time by four to five hours.
The Atal Tunnel is built with ultra-modern specifications in the Pir Panjal range of Himalayas at an altitude of 10,000 feet. It is also the country's first tunnel to have an escape tunnel within the main tunnel. It is the also the first tunnel to deply Rowa flyer technology, which allows engineers to work at inverted levels.
The tunnel provides ample safety features like entry barriers at both portals, telephone connections at every 150 meters for emergency communication, fire hydrant mechanisms at every 60 meters, auto incident detection system with CCTV cameras at every 250 meters, air quality monitoring at every 1 Km, among others.
The horseshoe shaped single-tube, double-lane tunnel has been designed for the traffic density of 3,000 cars per day and 1,500 trucks per day with a max speed of 80 km per hour. It has a state-of-the-art electromechanical system including semi transverse ventilation system, SCADA controlled firefighting, illumination and monitoring system.
The construction of the Atal Tunnel connecting Manali with Leh, which is the world's longest highway tunnel above 10,000 feet, has been completed in a span of 10 years.
The south portal (SP) of the tunnel is located at a distance of 25 km from Manali and at an altitude of 3,060 metres. The north portal (NP) is located near the Teling village in the Lahaul Valley at an altitude of 3,071 metres.
Atal Tunnel will also give a boost to tourism in Lahaul-Spiti, creating employment opportunities. It will also save crores of rupees in transport costs in the long run.
Former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee took the decision to construct Atal Tunnel was taken on June 3, 2000. The foundation stone for the tunnel was laid on May 26, 2002. On 25 December 2019, the Rohtang tunnel was renamed as Atal Tunnel in the memory of Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
The initial estimation for completion of the tunnel was Rs 950 crores. The project, however, was completed at a cost of over Rs 3,200 crores, which is over three times the initial value.
With inputs from agencies