Manali-Leh national highway fully ready to open
The world’s longest and high altitude tunnel, Manali-Leh highway is now fully ready to open in Himachal Pradesh’s Lahul-Spiti district. Named after former Prime Minister of India, Late Atal Bihari Vajpayee, this Atal Rohtang Tunnel is built at a 10,000 feet altitude.
The tunnel is 8.8-kilometre-long and cuts through the Pir Panjal range in the Lesser Himalayan region. It will now ensure all-weather connectivity between Manali and Leh. The distance between Manali and Leh will now be reduced by about 46 kilometres. Built at a cost of around Rs 4,000 crore the tunnel is expected to accommodate up to 3,000 cars and 1,500 trucks.
The starting point of the tunnel is 20 km from Manali bus-stand. The other end opens at the left bank of Chandrabhaga river near Koksar town.
The construction of the tunnel took place under the Border Road Organization(BRO) which is a construction wing of the Indian Army for construction of roads in border areas. The design of the tunnel was done by Australian firm SMEC International and turnkey execution was done by Strabag and AG–AFCONS.
The tunnel has all the modern features like bright lighting, sucking of exhaust fumes, U–turns and parking, air quality monitoring facility, broadcasting and incident detecting system, emergency exit, telephone facility every 150m. etc.