Sonia Gandhi lays foundation stone for Rohtang tunnelJune 28th, 2010 - 4:55 pm ICT by ANI
By Ravi Shankar
Dhundi (Himachal Pradesh), June 28 (ANI): United Progressive Alliance (UPA) chief Sonia Gandhi laid foundation stone for the much-awaited 8.8 kilometres Rohtang tunnel in Himachal Pradesh’s Kullu District on Monday.
Situated in the picturesque Solang valley near Manali in Kullu district, the tunnel will connect Manali in Himachal Pradesh with Leh in Jammu and Kashmir round the year.
To be built at an altitude ranging between 3053 meters and 3080 meters, the tunnel with a horseshoe shaped cross -section, will be 11.25 metres wide at road level, providing ample room for two-way traffic and designed to cater to maximum vehicular speed of 80 kilometers per hour.
The Cabinet Committee on Security had cleared the Rohtang Tunnel Project in September 2009 to be built at a cost of Rs. 14.93 billion.
The project was finalised in consultation with the Geological Survey of India and Manali based Snow and Avalanche Studies Establishment (SASE).
The tunnel will be the world’s longest tunnel at such a high altitude. It is expected to be completed by 2015.
The tunnel is divided into three parts–ventilations, highway and egress tunnel. CCTV cameras will be installed for security purposes.
The Rohtang Tunnel would reduce Manli -Leh road by 46 kilometres.
The tunnel would have the capacity to bear traffic of about 3,000 cars and 1,500 trucks a day driving at speeds varying from a minimum of 30 kilometers per hour to a maximum of 80 kilometers per hour.
The Rohtang Pass remains closed for over six months a year due to heavy snowfall, cutting off the Lahaul-Spiti valley and Leh.
The 85-kilometers distance from Manali to Kelong on the other side of Rohtang Pass is usually covered by vehicles in about five to six hours, without counting the long hours of traffic jams on the hilly route.
The same distance would now be covered in less than half-an-hour through the tunnel and without traffic snarls.
The North Portal of the tunnel will be about 25 kilometers ahead of Keylong, thereby entirely avoiding Rohtang Pass.
The present Manali-Leh highway passes through Rohtang Pass, Baralacha Pass Lachlungla Pass and Tanglangla. The construction of the tunnel will play a significant part in the armed forces troop and equipment movement to the forward areas in Ladakh.
The areas through which the tunnel would pass would face temperatures between 25 to 30 degrees Celsius in May and June and between minus 20 to minus two degrees in December and January every year.
The Rohtang tunnel was first conceived in 1983 to develop the Manali-Sarchu-Leh road to an all weather alternate route for strategic considerations, and preliminary study was conducted in1984 in consultation with the geological Survey of India and Manali based Snow and Avalanche Studies Establishment (SASE). (ANI)
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Tags: ample room, cabinet committee, foundation stone, geological survey of india, heavy snowfall, high altitude, himachal pradesh, jammu and kashmir, kilometers per hour, kullu district, manali, north portal, progressive alliance, ravi shankar, rohtang pass, security purposes, sonia gandhi, traffic jams, traffic snarls, tunnel project