PM Modi to inaugurate world's longest tunnel at Rohtang on Saturday
03 October 2020
Prime Minister Narendra Modi will inaugurate Atal Tunnel, the world’s longest tunnel, at Rohtang at 10 am tomorrow.
The 9.02 km-long tunnel connects Manali to Lahaul-Spiti valley throughout the year. Earlier, the valley was cut off for about 6 months each year owing to heavy snowfall.
The tunnel is built with ultra-modern specifications in the Pir Panjal range of Himalayas at an altitude of 3,000 metres (10,000 feet) from the mean sea level (MSL).
The tunnel reduces the road distance by 46 km between Manali and Leh and the time by about 4 to 5 hours.
The South Portal (SP) of Atal Tunnel is located at a distance of 25 km from Manali at an altitude of 3,060 metres, while the North Portal (NP) of the tunnel is located near village Teling, Sissu, in Lahaul Valley at an altitude of 3,071 metres.
It is horse shoe shaped, single tube double lane tunnel with a roadway of 8 metres. It has an overhead clearance of 5.525 metres.
It is 10.5-metre wide and has a 3.6 x 2.25 metres fire proof emergency egress tunnel built into the main tunnel itself.
Atal Tunnel has been designed for traffic density of 3,000 cars per day and 1,500 trucks per day with max speed of 80 km/hr.
It has the state-of-the-art electromechanical system, including semi transverse ventilation system, SCADA controlled fire-fighting, illumination and monitoring system.
The tunnel has ample safety features built into it. Some of the key safety features are:
- Tunnel entry barriers at both portals.
- Telephone connections at every 150 mtrs for emergency communication.
- Fire hydrant mechanisms at every 60 mtrs.
- Auto incident detection system with CCTV cameras at every 250 mtrs.
- Air quality monitoring at every 1 km.
- Evacuation lighting / exit signs at every 25 mtrs.
- Broadcasting system throughout the tunnel.
- Fire rated dampers at every 50 mtrs.
- Cameras at every 60 mtrs.
The historic decision to construct a strategic tunnel below the Rohtang Pass was taken on 3 June 2000 when late Atal Bihari Vajpayee was the Prime Minister. The foundation stone for the access road to the South Portal of the tunnel was laid on 26 May 2002.
The Border Roads Organisation (BRO) worked relentlessly to overcome major geological, terrain and weather challenges that included the most difficult stretch of the 587-metre Seri Nalah Fault Zone. The breakthrough from both ends was achieved on 15 October 2017.
The Union cabinet under the chairmanship of Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 24 December 2019 decided to name the Rohtang Tunnel as Atal Tunnel to honour the contribution made by the former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
After attending the inauguration function of the Atal Tunnel at South Portal, Manali, Prime Minister Modi will be participating in public functions at Sissu in Lahaul Spiti and at Solang Valley.