Almost after a decade of gruelling hard work by the Border Roads Organisation, the longest highway tunnel in the world, the Atal Rohtang tunnel was completed recently and was inaugurated by PM Narendra Modi today.
The all-season highway tunnel is said to reduce the distance from Manali to Leh by a whopping 46 km. The tunnel reduces the journey time from Manali Valley to Lahaul and Spiti Valley, which normally takes around five hours to negotiate, to mere 10 minutes.
The 9.02 km tunnel cuts through the magnificent Pir Panjal range. The tunnel has been named after former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
The foundation stone of the same was laid by in 2010 by then PM Sonia Gandhi. It was originally touted to be 8.8 km long but after completion, it entertains a length of 9.02 kilometres.
The tunnel has various safety features including a telephone after every 150 metres and fire hydrant every 60 metres. It also has an emergency exit after every 500 metres, turning cavern every 2.2 km, air quality monitoring every one km. Broadcasting system and automatic incident detection system with CCTV cameras every 250 metres have also been tucked.
The tunnel is an engineering marvel.