Atal Tunnel (Rohtang Tunnel).
The Atal Tunnel is the world’s highest highway tunnel (at an elevation of 10k feet) and costs around US$438 million (₹3,200 crores) to build. Connecting Manali to Lahul Spiti via Rohtang tunnel (Atal Tunnel) was a twenty-year process for the Indian government. Opening in 2020, the Atal Tunnel became the world’s Longest tunnel of its type constructed at an altitude of over 10k feet. The Rohtang Tunnel (Atal Tunnel) project was announced in June 2000 by Atal Bihari Vajpayee (former Prime Minister) and the foundation stone was laid by Sonia Gandhi in June 2010.
This spectacular Tunnel slicing through the Rohtang pass is around 9 km long and promises to cut travel time from Manali to Leh up to 3 to 4 hours. Before the construction of this impressive tunnel, the Rohtang pass which connects Manali to Lahul Spiti remains shut for around 6 months every year due to heavy snowfall. The strategic decision to build a tunnel rather than refurbish existing roads was taken to avoid difficult terrain which was prone to road blockades and high risks of rock falls, avalanches, etc. New Austria Tunnelling Method techniques were used for the purpose of drill and blast. Within the main tunnel, there’s an emergency exit escape tunnel which is the first of its kind in the country.
The history of Atal Tunnel (Rohtang Tunnel) project. Past and Present
Jawarharlal Nehru (then Prime Minister) discussed with the local tribes to construct a ropeway at Rohtang Pass for round the year connectivity of Lahaul Spiti. The people of Lahaul Spiti later proposed the idea of digging a tunnel. But no further progress was made.
The proposal of digging a Tunnel was adopted in 1983 when Indira Gandhi was the Prime Minister. The project plan was to dig a tunnel under the Pirpanjal valley through the Rohtang Pass.
Feasibility analysis was done.
June 3, 2000
Atal Bihari Vajpayee announced the Rohtang Tunnel (Atal Tunnel) project in Himachal Pradesh.
May 6, 2002
The task was assigned to Border Road Organisation with an estimated cost of INR-500 crore and estimated time of completion to be 2015.
The contract was awarded to Snowy Mountains Engineering Corporation, International Private Limited, an Australian company.
June 28, 2010
Foundation stone laying ceremony was scheduled on June 28, 2010.
Around 40 percent of the tunnel had been dug.
October 17, 2013
The tunnel-digging project had to be put to a halt on the 17th of October 2013. As a 30m portion of the roof, the tunnel had been collapsed at the north portal of the tunnel due to which the digging has to be stopped.
Around 50 percent of the tunnel had been dug.
Around 80 percent of the tunnel had been dug.
October 13, 2017
Both ends of the Rohtang tunnel met. Nirmala Sitharam (Defense Minister) visited the site two days later on October 15th.
November 22, 2017
Permission was granted to use the tunnel (under construction) for extreme emergency services.
December 15, 2019
The prime minister Narendra Modi named the tunnel as Atal Tunnel, after former Prime minister Late Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
October 3, 2020
Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the much-awaited Atal Tunnel in Rohtang
Atal Tunnel Infrastructure
- In 1990 the technical and financial feasibility analysis for the Rohtang Tunnel was first carried out.
The initial blasting occurred in 2010.
- New Austria Tunnelling Method was utilized for the construction of Atal Tunnel.
- Ultra-modern specs were used for the construction of the Atal tunnel at an elevation of more than 10,000 ft.
It’s a single tube double lane tunnel in horseshoe-shaped with Eight meters road.
- Ample security options had been provided in the tunnel together with emergency phone connections at every 150 meters, and CCTVs at every 250 mtrs, air quality monitors within each km, broadcasting options, fire hydrants system within every 60 meters, etc.
- Also, there is 10-meter wide and has 3.5 x 2.26 meters fire-proof emergency egress tunnels constructed into the principle tunnel itself. There is an emergency entrance for the egress tunnel within every 500m. And there are eighteen egress tunnels in total to which there’s an opening at every 500m.
- The South Portal of the Tunnel is positioned at a distance of 25 kilometers from Manali. And it is at an elevation of 10040 feet, whereas the North Portal of the Atal tunnel is positioned close to Lahaul Valley at an elevation of 10076 feet.
- The traffic density capacity of the tunnel is 3000 light vehicles and 1500 heavy vehicles per day. And the maximum speed of 80km per hour.
Atal Tunnel Specifications
Prime Minister Nehru mentioned a ropeway at Rohtang with native tribes in 1960. Nearly 39 years after, when Atal Bihari Vajpayee was the Prime Minister, locals urged his childhood buddy Arjun Gopal to go to him to speak about the Tunnel at Rohtang pass. Gopal and two companions, Tsering Dorjey and Abhay Chand traveled to Delhi. After a yr of discussions, Atal Bihari Vajpayee went to Lahaul in June 2000 and announced the construction of the Rohtang Tunnel. RITES carried out a feasibility analysis.
Narendra Modi renamed the Rohtang tunnel as Atal Tunnel, in honor of Shree Atal Bihari Vajpayee, on 25 December 2019, the birthday of Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
The Atal Tunnel has been deliberate to make sure an all-seasons, all-weather highway path to strategically necessary areas of Ladakh. Nonetheless, the tunnel will present this connectivity solely as much as Darcha, north of Keylong within the Lahaul area of Himachal Pradesh. Connectivity to Ladakh would require extra tunnels: both at Shikun La, or on the passes situated on the current Leh-Manali highway.
Atal tunnel is constructed under rohtang pass.
The tunnel is constructed underneath the Rohtang Cross within the eastern Pir Panjal Range of the Himalayas on the Leh-Manali road in Himachal Pradesh, India. At a size of 9.02 km, it’s the longest tunnel above 3048 meters on the earth and is known after Atal Bihari Vajpayee, the former Prime Minister of India.
The tunnel reduces the journey time and total distance between Manali and Keylong. The route, which beforehand went via Gramphu, was 72 miles lengthy and took five to six hours in good circumstances.
The traveler now reaches the South Portal of the tunnel from Manali, a distance of 15 miles in about 50 minutes, goes by way of the 5.5 miles lengthy tunnel in about 15 minutes and reaches Keylong which is 23 miles away in about 60 minutes. The brand new route by way of the tunnel brings down the overall distance traveled to 44 miles which could be traveled in about 2 hours, a reduction of Three to Four hours when in comparison with the earlier route. Furthermore, the tunnel bypasses a lot of the places that have been liable to highway blockades, avalanches, and traffic snarls.
Atal tunnel above 10k feet
The tunnel is at an elevation of 10170 feet whereas the Rohtang Pass is at an elevation of 13,051 feet. It was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 3rd October 2020. The price of all the ventures is around INR 3,200 crore.
The commissioning of the entry highway development for the Atal Tunnel by Atal Bihari Vajpayee on 26 May 2002
In 2000, the undertaking was estimated to price INR-500 crores and be accomplished in seven years. On 26 May 2002, the Border Roads Organisation, a tri-service organization of the Defence Ministry specializing in highway and bridge building in tough terrains, headed by Lt. General Prakash Suri, PVSM, was put in control of the building. The strategy highway to the tunnel entrance was inaugurated by Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
Nonetheless, the undertaking didn’t transfer past the tree-felling stage by May 2003. By December 2004, the price estimate had grown to INR-900 crores. In May 2007, the government awarded the contract to Snowy Mountains Engineering Corporation International Private Limited, an Australian firm, and the completion date was scheduled for 2014. Nonetheless, there was no progress for the following three years, till May 2010.
Lastly, the Cabinet Committee on Security in the UPA government cleared the Rohtang Tunnel Undertaking. And the work was awarded to a joint venture of AFCONS Infrastructure Limited, an Indian building firm of Shapoorji Pallonji Group, and STRABAG AG, Austria, in September 2009. The drilling of the Rohtang Tunnel via the Himalayan ranges started on 28 June 2010 on the South Portal, 16 miles north of Manali. And a few of the anchoring and slope stabilization work was subcontracted to Spar Geo Infra Pvt Ltd.
Recent news about Atal Tunnel.
December 9, 2020. Fresh snow around Atal Tunnel; road to Lahaul valley blocked.
Snowfall recorded at various places of the tribal Lahaul and Spiti district on Wednesday, hampering the vehicle movement in the direction of Lahaul valley from Atal Tunnel. The Lahaul valley has obtained appreciable snowfall, throwing regular life out of drugs and a recent chilly wave gripping the world. And heavy snowfall was additionally reported close to the tunnel in Rohtang, the most recent vacationer hotspot of the area. In view of public security, the Lahaul and Spiti administration has restricted the motion of automobiles in the direction of Lahaul valley from the Atal Tunnel.
Lahaul and Spiti Superintendent of Police Manav Verma stated the Atal Tunnel and its close-by locations had obtained heavy snowfall. So, it had blocked the Manali- Leh freeway in the direction of Lahaul valley forward of the tunnel. And the police have suggested the folks to keep away from their journey on this highway until it’s cleared for site visitors and vehicles. “As a result of recent snowfall, this highway has developed into dangerous for the movement of vehicles,” he stated.
November 28, 2020. Atal Tunnel to open once per week for automobiles carrying petroleum products
Automobiles carrying petroleum merchandise together with petrol, diesel, kerosene, and LPG can now use Atal Tunnel because the Centre has given nod to open the tunnel for inflammable merchandise beneath certain customary working process once every week.
The 9.02-km-long tunnel was opened to common site visitors on October 3. However, the automobiles carrying inflammable merchandise and explosives weren’t allowed to make use of the tunnel because of safety causes. And these automobiles have been bound to make use of the outdated freeway through Rohtang cross which consumes Three to four hours additional journey time. Now, Rohtang cross has been closed after heavy snowfall and can open subsequent yr, the Border Roads Organisation has stated that petroleum merchandise may be transported by way of the tunnel once per week.
A lot of the petroleum supply to Ladakh and Lahaul has already been despatched through Rohtang cross. And just a few automobiles might be plying by way of the tunnel until the subsequent summer time season. Letting petroleum autos by way of Atal tunnel will guarantee ample supply in Lahaul valley even after snowfall.
A BRO official stated Wednesday has been fastened as a day when automobiles carrying petroleum can ply by way of the Atal tunnel. “As per instructions from the Centre, petroleum vehicles can even use the tunnel. And the motion of such vehicles might be regulated because of the state’s customary working procedure,” he stated.