True – The Rohtang Tunnel world longest roadway (8.8km) Himachal PradeshSeptember 1, 2020
The strategic Rohtang tunnel, which has been named after the late former PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee, is likely to be inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the month of September 2020! Recently, Chief Minister of Himachal Pradesh Jai Ram Thakur announced that the strategic Atal Tunnel would be entirely completed by the end of September and it is likely yo be dedicated to the nation by PM Modi in September, according to an IANS report. Interestingly, the strategic Rohtang tunnel is going to be the longest highway tunnel in the world above 10,000 feet. The development work, after being halted for some days due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, resumed in May 2020.
An ambitious project, the strategic Rohtang tunnel is being built at an elevation of 10,171 feet under the Rohtang Pass in the Himalayas’ eastern Pir Panjal Range. This is because, for a period of six months (between November and May) in a year, the Manali-Sarchu-Leh road is shut down due to the Rohtang Pass being fully covered with snow. Once the tunnel is opened, the distance between Manali and Lahaul-Spiti’s administrative centre Keylong is expected to be reduced by around 45 kilometres.
In 2002, Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee declared the construction of Rohtang Tunnel and laid the foundation of the approach road to the tunnel. The Border Roads Organisation (BRO) engaged RITES in March 2002 to undertake feasibility studies.
The 8.8-kilometre long tunnel is the world’s longest tunnel. It will reduce travel time by 4.5 hours. It is a 10.5-metre wide single tube bi-lane tunnel with a fire proof emergency ‘escape tunnel’ built into the main tunnel itself.
The tunnel is extremely significant from the military logistics point of view. Atal Tunnel, earlier known as Rohtang tunnel, has been constructed at an altitude above 10,000 feet with an outlay of Rs 3,500 crore. A 13.2 km long tunnel would have to be built to negotiate the 16,040-feet high Baralacha Pass and another 14.78 km-long tunnel would be required at the Lachung La Pass at 16,800 feet and the third 7.32-km long tunnel would be required at Tanglang La Pass at 17,480 feet.