Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday (3 October) inaugurated the strategic Atal Tunnel constructed below the Rohtang Pass in Himachal Pradesh. The ceremony in Himachal Pradesh was also attended by other dignitaries like Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat and Army Chief General M M Naravane.
Here is a video encapsulating the tunnel journey from its conception in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee era to its completion.
The 9.02 km-long Atal Tunnel is the longest highway tunnel in the world and connects Manali to Lahaul-Spiti valley throughout the year. Earlier, the valley was cut off for about six 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 3,000 m (10,000 feet) from the Mean Sea Level (MSL).
The tunnel reduces the road distance by 46 Km between Manali and Leh and the time by about 4 to 5 hours.
The South Portal (SP) of Atal Tunnel is located at a distance of 25 Km from Manali at an altitude of 3,060 m, while the North Portal (NP) of the tunnel is located near village Teling, Sissu, in Lahaul Valley at an altitude of 3071 m.
It is horse shoe shaped, single tube double lane tunnel with a roadway of 8 m and has an overhead clearance of 5.525 m.
The tunnel is 10.5-metre wide and has a 3.6 x 2.25 m fire proof emergency egress tunnel built into the main tunnel itself.
Atal Tunnel has been designed for traffic density of 3000 cars per day and 1500 trucks per day with max speed of 80 km/hr.
The Atal Tunnel is also key to providing all-weather connectivity to Leh and the forward areas of Ladakh.