Prime Minister Narendra Modi is all set to inaugurate the longest highway tunnel in the world on October 3. Atal Tunnel, which is 9 kilometers long, will connect Manali to Leh via Lahaul-Spiti valley.
Developed in almost 10 years, the Atal Tunnel is an all-weather road that will make Rohtang, Lahul, and Spiti valley accessible throughout the year. So far, these areas have remained cut for almost 6 months in a year due to heavy snowfall.
Fulfilling Atal Ji’s dream of top quality infrastructure.
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) October 2, 2020
Strategically, this tunnel holds great importance to the Indian Defence as well. It cuts down the distance to the Tibetan Border by almost half. The tunnel reduces the road distance by 46 Kms between Manali and Leh and the time by about 4 to 5 hours. It also makes army movement to the Tibet border easy and affordable.
Built by Border Road Organisation (BRO), Atal Tunnel is a horseshoe-shaped, single tube double lane tunnel with a roadway of 8 Mtrs, and has been designed for a traffic density of 3000 cars per day and 1500 trucks per day with a maximum speed of 80 km/hr. It has a state-of-the-art electromechanical system including semi transverse ventilation system, SCADA controlled firefighting, illumination, and monitoring system.
Though the work for the tunnel could start only in the year 2010, the historic decision to construct a strategic tunnel below the Rohtang Pass was taken on June 03, 2000, itself, when late Atal Bihari Vajpayee was the Prime Minister.