Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday inaugurated Atal Tunnel in Rohtang, which is the highest altitude tunnel in the world and has strategic significance. The historic decision to construct a strategic tunnel below the Rohtang Pass was taken on June 3, 2000 when Atal Bihari Vajpayee was the Prime Minister.

RohtangThe tunnel has been designed for traffic density of 3,000 cars per day and 1,500 trucks per day with max speed of 80 kms/hour.

The Rohtang Tunnel is constructed in the Pir Panjal ranges of Himachal Pradesh as Manali-Sarchu-Leh road remains closed for nearly six months in a year because of snow-clad between November and April. The all-weather tunnel will connect Manali to Lahaul and Spiti valley throughout the year and will reduce the road length of the Manali-Rohtang Pass-Sarchu-Leh road by 46 km.

tunnel.In 2002, Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee declared the construction of Rohtang Tunnel and laid the foundation of the approach road to the tunnel.

It will reduce the distance between Manali and Leh by 46 kilometres and reduce travel time by 4.5 hours.

It is a 10.5-metre wide single tube bi-lane tunnel with a fire proof emergency ‘escape tunnel’ built into the main tunnel itself.

On September 24, 2009, a contract was awarded to Strabag-Afcons Joint Venture (SAJV) for the tunnel’s construction and the project finally began in 2010, in the presence of then UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi.The Rohtang tunnel, touted to be the longest mountain tunnel in the world.

The tunnel holds a strategic advantage as well. While it will be a boon to the residents of the Lahaul and Spiti Valley who remain cut off from the rest of the country in winters for nearly six months due to heavy snowfall, the tunnel will provide almost all-weather connectivity to the troops stationed in Ladakh.

It is a horse shoe-shaped, single-tube, double lane tunnel with a roadway of eight metres and has an overhead clearance of 5.525 metres, the Prime Minister’s Office said in a statement.

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