Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the much-awaited Atal Tunnel in Rohtang on Saturday, October 3. The tunnel is named after former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and is said to be the World’s longest highway tunnel, taking nearly 20 years to be functional since the time of conception in 2000 under Atal Bihari Vajpayee government with its foundation stone laying in 2002. The Atal Tunnel is crucial for India from many perspectives.
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Here are some interesting facts about the Atal tunnel
- Built by the Border Roads Organisation (BRO) the 9.02 km long Atal tunnel is the longest high-altitude highway tunnel in the world.
- The Atal Tunnel is also said to reduce the travel time between Manali and Leh by nearly 46 Kms, in turn reducing 4 to 5 hours of travel time.
- The Atal Tunnel will have all-weather connectivity between Manali to Lahaul-Spiti valley which was earlier cut off for six months of the year due to excessive snowfall in the region.
- The Atal Tunnel has been designed for a traffic density of 3,000 cars per day and 1,500 trucks per day with a max speed of 80 Km per hour.
- The Atal Tunnel has a state-of-the-art electromechanical system including semi transverse ventilation system, SCADA controlled firefighting, illumination and monitoring system.
- The Atal tunnel is situated at an altitude of 3000 meters (10,000 Feet) from the Mean Sea Level (MSL) in Rohtang Pass in the Pir Panjal range of Himalayas and is built with ultra-modern specifications.
- The Atal Tunnel is a horseshoe-shaped, single tube double lane tunnel with a roadway of 8 meters. It has an overhead clearance of 5.525 meters, 10.5 metres wide and has a 3.6 x 2.25 meters fireproof emergency egress tunnel built into the main tunnel itself. This is the first tunnel in India to have an escape tunnel within the main tunnel.
- To ensure safety, the Atal Tunnel has entry barriers at both portals (north and south), telephone connections at every 150 metres, fire hydrant systems at every 60 metres, evacuation lighting, air quality monitoring every 1 km and exit signs at every 25 metres, emergency exit at every 500 metres and broadcasting system and automatic incident detection system with CCTV cameras every 250 metres.
- The Atal Tunnel will also hold significance from a strategic point of view as it will bring the areas along the LAC closer and accessible through our the year.
- Built at a cost of about Rs 3,300 crore, the BRO had to overcome a number of challenges including weather, terrain and geological constraints to build the tunnel.
Here are some of the pictures of the Atal Tunnel during construction: