The 8.8 km long Rohtang tunnel between Kullu valley and Lahaul-Spiti is expected to be completed by the end of next year, The Tribune has reported. The road will provide all-weather connectivity between the two locations. The tunnel will reduce the distance between Manali-Leh by 46 km.
The tunnel is being built at an average elevation of 10,000 feet and will be the longest tunnel in the world at this height. The idea of the tunnel was first floated in 1983 but the work on the tunnel began only in 2010 by the Border Road Organisation (BRO). The tunnel is nearly 6,000 feet below the snow-covered Rohtang pass.
The tunnel will have a 37 feet wide two-way road and is of immense strategic importance both to the civilians and military. The road to the border areas remains closed for nearly six months due to heavy snowfall. This affects the life of civilians in the area. It also presents a huge challenge to military supply as the roads cannot be used in this season.
The deadline for the completion of the tunnel was set to 2015 but due to the extreme challenges presented by the nature, it was shifted to the end of 2019.
“Work will continue through the winters and we plan to finish construction activity by August-September next year and thereafter some time would be required for any rectifications or modifications that may be warranted,” told Brig NM Chandarana, Chief Engineer, Rohtang Project. The tunnel was recently used to evacuate hundreds of stranded people after the heavy unseasonal snow.
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