Atal Tunnel

#GS3 #Infrastructure #Development

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has dedicated to the nation the World’s longest Highway tunnel – At Tunnel at its south portal in Manali.

 

About the ‘Atal Tunnel’ 

  • 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 3000 Mtrs (10,000 Feet) from the Mean Sea Level (MSL).
  • The tunnel reduces the road distance by 46 Kms between Manali and Leh and the time by about 4 to 5 hours.
  • It has state of the art electromechanical systems including semi transverse ventilation, SCADA controlled fire fighting, illumination and monitoring systems. The Tunnel has ample safety features built into it.
  • It is constructed by the Border Roads Organisation.

 

Background 

  • Former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee laid the foundation of the approach road for this tunnel in 2002. The work was so neglected that only 1300 metres i.e less than 1.5 Kms of tunnel could be built till 2013-14 i.e only about 300 metres each year. If it continued at that pace then the tunnel would be completed only in 2040.
  • In 2005, the estimated cost for the construction of the tunnel was about Rs. 900 crores. But due to continuous delays, today it has been completed after spending more than 3 times i.e. 3200 crore rupees.
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