Rohtang Tunnel: The world's longest highway tunnel above 10,000 feet to become operational soon! The 8.8 kilometres long Rohtang tunnel, which is being built on the Leh-Manali highway may become operational in the next eight months. The Border Roads Organisation (BRO) Additional Director General (ADG) Anil Kumar was quoted in a PTI report saying that the development work on the Rohtang tunnel is in its final phase and the tunnel will be completed in the month of September 2020. Recently, the tunnel has been named after the late Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee. It is being said that the tunnel will be the world’s longest highway tunnel.
The ambitious infrastructure project, Rohtang tunnel is being constructed at an elevation of 10,171 feet under the Rohtang Pass in the eastern Pir Panjal Range of the Himalayas. The tunnel is expected to reduce the distance between Manali and Lahaul-Spiti’s administrative centre Keylong by around a distance of 45 kilometres.
Every year during the winter season, heavy snowfall in the Rohtang Pass, located in the state of Himachal Pradesh often cuts off villages in Lahaul-Spiti from the rest of the country. However, this is likely to change with the upcoming Rohtang tunnel, which is one of the most prestigious projects in the country. The tunnel cuts through the Pir Panjal range, providing a winter link to the residents of Lahaul and Spiti and also to those living in Ladakh's Zanskar valley.
A few months ago, KP Purshothanam, Chief Engineer of the project was quoted in an IE report saying that every year during winters, residents of most of the villages that are located in Lahaul and Spiti would lock their homes and move to Kullu as it is very difficult to get any medical assistance when the region is under snow. They could fly out by helicopter if they are not well, but during bad weather, they are stuck. But with this project, the lives of those living across that region will be transformed, he said.