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Modi to inaugurate Atal Tunnel at Rohtang on October 3
New Delhi, October 1, 2020
Prime Minister Narendra Modi will inaugurate the 9.02 km-long Atal Tunnel, that will connect Manali to Lahaul-Spiti Valley round the year, at Rohtang on Saturday.
The tunnel is the longest highway tunnel in the world, an official press release said.
Earlier, the valley remained cut off for about six months in the winter owing to heavy snowfall.
The tunnel is built with ultra-modern specifications in the Pir Panjal range of Himalayas at an altitude of 3000 metres (10,000 feet) from the Mean Sea Level (MSL).
The tunnel reduces the road distance by 46 km between Manali and Leh and travel time by about four to five hours.
The South Portal (SP) of Atal Tunnel is located at a distance of 25 km from Manali at an altitude of 3060 metres. The North Portal (NP) is located near village Teling, Sissu, in Lahaul Valley at an altitude of 3071 metres.
It is a horse-shoe shaped, single-tube double-lane tunnel with a roadway of 8 metres. It has an overhead clearance of 5.525 meters.
The tunnel is 10.5-metre wide and has a 3.6 x 2.25 metre 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 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.
The tunnel has ample safety features built into it. Some of the key safety features are tunnel entry barriers at both portals and telephone connections at every 150 metres for emergency communication.
It also includes fire hydrant mechanisms at every 60 metres, auto incident detection system with CCTV cameras at every 250 metres, air quality monitoring at every 1 km, evacuation lighting / exit signs at every 25 metres and a broadcasting system throughout the tunnel.
The tunnel has fire rated dampers at every 50 metres and cameras at every 60 metres.
The decision to construct a strategic tunnel below the Rohtang Pass was taken on June 3, 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 May 26, 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 October 15, 2017.
The Union Cabinet met on December 24, 2019 and decided to name the Rohtang Tunnel as Atal Tunnel to honour the contribution made by the former Prime Minister.
After attending the inauguration function of the Atal Tunnel at South Portal, Manali, Modi will participate in public functions at Sissu in Lahaul Spiti and at Solang Valley.