WORLD LONGEST HIGHWAY TUNNEL– ATAL TUNNEL
Recently, the world’s longest highway tunnel was inaugurated on October 3, 2020, by our honorable Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The location of the tunnel is in Rohtang, Himachal Pradesh, India. The tunnel named as the Atal Tunnel by honoring the earlier prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee. The project’s foundation stone was laid on 28 June 2010 by Sonia Gandhi. The project was commended to BRO on 6 May 2002.
This tunnel has been constructed at a length of 9.02 km in a highway under the Rohtang Pass in the eastern Pir Panjal Range of the Himalayas on the Leh-Manali Highway in Himachal Pradesh, India. It has an altitude of above 10,000 feet (3,048 m) and safeguarded the fame of the longest tunnel in the world with coordinates of 32.401270 degrees North and 77.148335 degrees East.
The importance to construct this long tunnel is to reduce the travel distance and time between Manali to Lahaul- Spiti valley. This valley has heavy snowfall for six months in a year. And also reduces the distance of 46km.
The new Austrian tunneling method has been used for the construction of the Atal tunnel and has been furnished with a semi-transverse ventilation system, where large fans separately circulate air throughout the tunnel. For emergencies exist with the size of 2.25m X 3.6m has provided separately from the main carriage way. The tunnel has a public broadcast system to make an important announcement in emergency situations in which loudspeakers are installed at regular intervals with fire hydrants covering an area of 200m throughout the pathway inside the tunnel. To monitor the vehicle movements and to identify the vehicle capacity, a CCTV camera has been installed at regular intervals with pollution sensors to control vehicle pollution and two monitoring rooms installed from both the ends of the tunnel. Not only the pollution, but also fresh air circulation provision has been installed two heavy-duty fans on either side of the tunnel.
A chief engineer KP Purushothaman with the Border Roads Organization (BRO) is the significant personality behind the timely construction of this engineering wonder, which took 10 years to complete (originally scheduled for completion in six years).