Shimla (Himachal Pradesh) [India], October 2 (ANI): Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Friday visited the Atal Tunnel in Rohtang to review preparations for inaugural function on Saturday in which Prime Minister Narendra Modi will inaugurate the 9.02 km-long strategically important tunnel.
The Defence Minister was accompanied by Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Jairam Thakur and Minister of State of Finance and Corporate Affairs Anurag Thakur.
"Visited the 'Atal Tunnel, Rohtang' to review the preparations for the inaugural ceremony to be held tomorrow. Prime Minister Narendra Modi will dedicate the tunnel to the nation. This 9.02 km long 'Engineering Marvel' will connect Manali to Lahaul-Spiti valley throughout the year," Singh said in a tweet.
Singh, who is on a two-day visit to Himachal Pradesh, also visited DRDO's Snow and Avalanche Study Establishment (SASE) in Manali.
The Atal Tunnel has been built with ultra-modern specifications in the Pir Panjal range of Himalayas at an altitude of 3000 m (10,000 feet) from the Mean Sea Level (MSL).
It reduces the road distance between Manali and Leh by 46 km and the time by about 4 to 5 hours.
The South Portal (SP) of the tunnel is located at a distance of 25 km from Manali at an altitude of 3060 metres while North Portal (NP) of the tunnel is located near village Teling, Sissu, in Lahaul Valley at an altitude of 3,071 metres.
It is horseshoe-shaped, single tube double lane tunnel with a roadway of eight metres and an overhead clearance of 5.525 metres.
The tunnel has been designed for traffic density of 3000 cars per day and 1500 trucks per day with a maximum speed of 80 km/hr.
The decision to construct a strategic tunnel below the Rohtang Pass was taken on June 3, 2000 when late Atal Bihari Vajpayee was the Prime Minister. The foundation stone for the Access Road to the South Portal of the tunnel was laid on May 26, 2002.
The Union Cabinet decided in 2019 to name the Rohtang Tunnel as Atal Tunnel to honour the contribution made by the former Prime Minister.
The Border Roads Organisation (BRO) overcame major geological, terrain and weather challenges in the construction of the tunnel. (ANI)