Atal Tunnel construction is now complete, connecting Manali to Lahaul-Spiti Valley
Despite heavy snowfall in the area, Lahaul-Spiti Valley has been connected to Manali via the Atal Tunnel, so people can easily travel to one place from another. It is the longest highway tunnel in the world which was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 3rd October.
The 9.02 km long tunnel will keep Manali connected to the Lahaul Spiti Valley throughout the year. Earlier, the valley was cut off from the rest due to heavy snowfall for about six months a year. With the construction of this tunnel, the distance between Manali and Leh will be reduced by 46 kilometres and the travel time will also be reduced by four to five hours.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated this strategically important all-weather open Atal tunnel in Rohtang. During the inauguration, he also went through the ‘Atal Tunnel’ to its northern portal in the Lahaul Valley of Lahaul-Spiti district. A bus also got the green signal to travel through this tunnel from Himachal Road Transport Corporation (AVRTC) for the southern portal at Manali.
Atal Bihari Vajpayee was the one who started this whole affair. The foundation of this tunnel was laid on 26 May 2002 on the southern portal of the tunnel. In December 2019, the Modi government decided to name the tunnel as the “Atal Tunnel” in honour of the former Prime Minister.
With the construction of this tunnel, you can cut short 46 kilometres to reach the border in Leh-Ladakh, this will also strengthen our army placed there. It will take less time to reach the border and it will also be easier to transport military goods during the snowfall.
The tunnel will connect Manali in Himachal Pradesh with Lahaul Spiti and Leh-Ladakh. The South Portal of Atal Tunnel is situated at a height of about 3060 meters at a distance of 25 km from Manali. At the same time, the northern left of the tunnel is located at a height of 3071 meters in the Telling village of Sissu in the Lahaul Valley.
This is a 10.5-meter-wide single tube by-lane tunnel. There is one fire extinguisher placed every 60 meters and a telephone will at every 150 meters. The tunnel is completely secured. There’s CCTV cameras, broadcast systems, accident detection systems every 250 meters. Plus an Emergency exit at every 500 meters. The Air quality will be monitored throughout the tunnel after every single kilometre
The horseshoe-shaped two-lane tunnel has an eight-meter wide road and has a height of 5.525 meters. Vehicles can run at a speed of 80 kilometres per hour in this tunnel and three thousand vehicles, including heavy machinery and trucks, will be able to pass through this tunnel every day.
In 2010, the construction of this tunnel was started by the Strabag Afcons Company under the guidance of the Border Roads Organization (BRO). Engineers and workers of the company and BRO have completed the construction of this tunnel at minus 23 degrees Celsius during winter. The whole construction of this tunnel cost Rs 3,500 crore.
There’s a Buddhist-style entrance gate built on either side of the Atal Tunnel. Gates are built in the Kullvi style in Manali while Buddhist style in Lahul. These entrances along with the location and the height this Atal Tunnel is built on will serve as a centre of attraction for the tourists.