Atal Tunnel (also known as Rohtang Tunnel) is the world’s longest highway tunnel above 10,000 feet. This horseshoe-shaped single-tube; the double-lane tunnel is built under the Rohtang Pass in the eastern Pir Panjal Range of the Himalayas.
As the border tensions between India and China run high, this tunnel will prove to be a lifesaver. The tunnel will provide all-weather the movement of troops or supplies during winters. It will also help to retain the connectivity to remote border areas of Himachal Pradesh and Ladakh which otherwise remain cut-off from the rest of the country for about six months during winters.
The following are some of its features:
- This tunnel is built on the Leh-Manali Highway in Himachal Pradesh, India.
- The 9.02 kilometers long engineering marvel is the longest tunnel in the world.
- The tunnel is located at an altitude of 10,000 feet (3,048 m) from the Mean Sea Level (MSL).
- The tunnel is named after the former Prime Minister of India, Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
- It is the first tunnel to deploy the Rowa flyer technology, which allows engineers to work at inverted levels.
- It will shorten the distance between Manali and Leh by 46 km and drive time by around seven hours.
- Vehicles can travel up to 80 km per hour inside the tunnel.
- This engineering masterpiece will also give a boost to tourism in beautiful Lahaul-Spiti.
- In the tunnel, there is a fire hydrant every 60 meters and an emergency exit on every 500 meters.
- There is an air quality monitoring system every one km.