PM Modi Inaugurates Atal Tunnel: All You Need to Know

The Atal Tunnel will reduce the distance between Manali and Leh by 46 km and the travel time by four to five hours.

Updated
India
2 min read
Prime Minister Modi will inaugurate the Atal Tunnel on Saturday, 3 October.
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Prime Minister Modi inaugurated the Atal Tunnel, the world’s longest motorable tunnel at an altitude of 10,040 feet on Saturday, 3 October.

Named after late Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee the Atal Tunnel will reduce the distance between Manali and Leh by 46 km and the travel time by four to five hours, at Rohtang in Himachal Pradesh.

The conception of the tunnel began in 1983 under the Indira Gandhi government and in 2002, the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government laid the foundation for the approach road to the tunnel.

Here’s what you should know about the Atal Tunnel.

Key Features of the Tunnel

  • 9.2 km in length, the tunnel will ensure all-weather connectivity to the Lahaul-Spiti district, which gets cut off for more than five months owing to the closure of the Rohtang Pass, situated at 13,050 feet due to heavy snowfall.
  • The tunnel has been designed for a capacity of 3,000 cars per day and 1,500 trucks per day with a max speed of 80 km per hour.
  • With an overhead clearance of 5.525 metres, the double-lane tunnel is shaped like a horseshoe and has 8 metres wide roadway. Overall, it is 10.5 metres wide.
  • A parallel 3.6 x 2.25 metres egress tunnel has been built into the main tunnel itself for fireproof emergency.
  • It also boasts of several safety features like entry barriers at both portals, exit signs at every 25 metres and telephone connections at every 150 metres for emergency communication.
  • Fire hydrant mechanisms are also present at every 60 metres along with fire-rated Dampers at every 50 metres. With cameras at every 60 metres, the tunnel also has auto incident detection system with CCTV cameras at every 250 metres.

Making of the Tunnel

  • Built in a span of 10 years, the Border Roads Organisation (BRO) spent around Rs 3,200 crore from the sanctioned budget of Rs 4,083 crore.
  • The project is a joint venture of Shapoorji Pallonji Group-run Afcons and Strabag of Austria, who won the Engineering Procurement and Construction (EPC) tender for ₹1,458 crore from BRO in 2009.
  • Afcons deployed 1,000 workmen and 150 engineers for the project.
  • The tunnel was built with 14,508 metric tonnes of steel and 2,37,596 metric tonnes of cement.
  • Around 14 lakh cubic metres of soil and rocks were excavated using the drill and blast technique for excavation, according to Satish Paretkar, Director of Hydro & Underground business unit at Afcons.
  • The construction had hit a snag due to the 410-metre long Seri Nalla, a brook.

“Seri Nalla was emitting over 125 litres of water per second, making work really hard. In my entire engineering life, this was the toughest job to execute. It took us more than three years to drill 410 metres along the Nalla,” Paretkar told news agency PTI.

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