Atal Tunnel: Modi inaugurates all-weather strategically crucial Manali-Leh tunnel
Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the Atal Tunnel at Rohtang in Himachal Pradesh on Saturday. Atal Tunnel, built at an altitude of 3000 meters connecting Manali to Lahaul-Spiti valley, will be available to the commuters throughout the year.
The Atal Tunnel or the Atal Rohtang Tunnel will reduce the distance between Manali and Leh by 46 km and the travel time by four to five hours.
For the inauguration of the Atal Rohtang Tunnel or the Atal Tunnel, PM Narendra Modi was accompanied by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) General Bipin Rawat, and Army Chief General MM Naravane.
PM Narendra Modi inaugurated the Atal Tunnel at around 10:30 am along with Rajnath Singh.
The Atal Tunnel is a 9.02-km-long tunnel that goes under the Rohtang Pass in the eastern Pir Panjal range on the Leh-Manali highway. Atal Rohtang Tunnel is the longest highway tunnel in the world.
It connects Manali to Lahaul-Spiti valley, which was earlier cut off for about six months due to heavy snowfall, throughout the year.
The Atal Rohtang Tunnel will decrease the travel time by four to five hours. The tunnel also reduces the road distance between Manali and Leh by 46 km.
It is built at an altitude of 3000 meters i.e., 10,000 feet.
Atal Tunnel has entry barriers at both portals. It has an auto incident detection system with CCTV cameras installed at every 250 meters, emergency exits every 500 meters, and a turning cavity every 2.2 km.
The Atal Rohtang Tunnel is designed for traffic density of up to 3,000 cars and 1,500 trucks per day with a max pace of 80 km per hour.
The Atal Tunnel was earlier known as the Rohtang tunnel. On Atal Bihari Vajpayee's 95th birth anniversary on December 24, 2019, the central government decided to name the Rohtang tunnel as Atal Tunnel to honor former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
The decision to construct the tunnel in Rohtang was taken in 2000 when Atal Bihari Vajpayee was the prime minister.