It was Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee, who took the decision of making this strategic tunnel on 03 June, 2000. It was a very big project with lots of hurdles, one of which was seri nala fault zone. The sheer volume of water prevented construction for several months. In memories of Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee, PM Narender Modi on 24th Dec, 2019 announced that the name will be changed from Rohtang Tunnel to Atal Tunnel.
Longest highway tunnel
Atal Tunnel is now the longest highway tunnel located at 10,000m above sea level. Due to heavy snowfall during winters, the Lahual-Spiti valley was used to remain cut for 6 months from the entire state. Now, with 9.02 km Atal Tunnel the Lahaul-Spiti valley will remain opened throughout the year and can be visited anytime. PM Narender Modi showed green flag on 3rd Oct, 2020.
Manali to Leh through Atal Tunnel
This tunnel is located at 3000m (10000feet) above sea level in pir panjal range of Himalayas. Its South Portal is located at Rohtang and the North Portal is located at Sissu, Lahaul Valley. Now you can reach Leh from Manali within 10 hours. This tunnel will cut 46kms (approx. 4 to 5 hours) of journey from Manali to Leh. This project was planned to be completed within 6 years but it took 10 years to fully construct it. Its estimated cost is 3200 crores.
Atal Tunnel Structure:
- Shape: Horseshoe
- Overhead clearance: 5.525m
- Width: 10m
- Fireproof emergency exit tunnel: 2.25m high & 3.6m wide
- Vehicular speed: 80km/h
- Temperature variation: 25 to 30 degrees during summers, -30 to -20 degrees during winters.
- Ventilation: Semi-transverse system of ventilation
- Tunnels entry barriers on both portals
- Telephone facilities at every 150m
- Fire hydrant at every 60m
- Emergency exit at every 500m
- Cave in every 2.2km
- Air quality sensors at every km
- CCTV cameras at every 250m
According to BRO, when the situation gets normal post covid-19 restrictions maximum of 1500 trucks and 3000cars will be allowed to travel through this tunnel per day with a maximum speed of 80km/hour.