The Atal tunnel near Manali, at the Rohtang Pass, is being reworked before Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurates it at the end of September.
The 8.8 kilometer long tunnel, which is the longest road tunnel in the world is built at an altitude of 3000 meters between Himachal Pradeshs Manali and Leh in Ladakh, will help shorten the distance of 474 kilometers between Leh and Manali .
The tunnel built under the Pir Panjal chain bears the name of the former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee who announced this project. The Border Roads Organization (BRO) was responsible for the project.
This tunnel will reduce the distance between Manali and Leh by 46 kilometers and also reduce travel time. This tunnel will help the people of Lahaul and Spiti Valley, who remain cut off from the nation during winters due to heavy snowfall.
The strategic advantage of the tunnel is that it will provide almost all-weather connectivity to troops stationed in Ladakh.
The tunnel can carry up to 3,000 vehicles per day and the speed limit in the tunnel will be 80 km / h. Apart from this, an emergency tunnel has also been built under the main tunnel to provide an escape route in the face of any untoward incident that causes the main tunnel to become unusable.
The project was due to be completed in February 2015, but the tunnel encountered geological problems due to which it was delayed. The construction crew were confronted with rapidly flowing water from Seri Nullah flowing at the top of the tunnel, which delayed construction as engineers attempted to control the flow of water. Another obstacle was the rock structures which slowed the progression of the tunnel.
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