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Atal Tunnel is a marvel of engineering, says PM

Atal Tunnel is a marvel of engineering, says PM

Prime Minister Narendra Modi today dedicated the world’s longest highway tunnel, Atal Tunnel, at its south portal in Manali to the nation.

The 9.02km-long tunnel connects Manali to Lahaul-Spiti Valley throughout the year. Earlier the valley was cut off for about six months each year owing to heavy snowfall, said a government press release. The tunnel is built with ultra-modern specifications in the Pir Panjal range of Himalayas at an altitude of 3,000 metres (10,000 feet) from the mean sea level (MSL).

The tunnel reduces the road distance by 46 km between Manali and Leh, and the time by about four to five hours.

It has state-of-the-art electromechanical systems including semi-transverse ventilation, SCADA controlled fire fighting, illumination and monitoring systems. The tunnel has ample safety features built into it.

Prime Minister Modi travelled in the tunnel from the South Portal to the North Portal and also visited the emergency egress tunnel that was built into the main tunnel itself. He also witnessed a pictorial exhibition on ‘The Making of Atal Tunnel’ on the occasion.

In his address, the Prime Minister termed the day as historic as it only fructifies the vision of the former Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee but also the decades old wish and dream of crores of people from the region.

Modi said that his government fast tracked the project and the construction went on at a speed of 1,400 metres each year. He said the project could be completed in six years where the estimate was 26 years.

The Prime Minister lauded the efforts of the engineers, technicians  and workers who risked their lives in making this dream come true.

He said in 2005, the estimated cost for the construction of the tunnel was about Rs 900 crore. But due to continuous delays, today it has been completed after spending more than three times, i.e., Rs 3,200 crore.

The Prime Minister said the Atal Tunnel is a shining example of the country’s resolve to become AatmaNirbhar or self reliant..