Do you know that Atal Tunnel is the longest highway tunnel in the world (which stands above 10,000 feet)? As the valley was earlier cut off for about six months every year due to heavy snowfall, the 9.02 km long tunnel connects Manali to Lahaul-Spiti valley throughout the year. Let’s discuss its five different facts:
- The strategically important all-weather Atal Tunnel reduces the distance between Manali and Leh by 46 km
- It also reduces the travel time by four to five hours.
- The tunnel is built with ultra-modern specifications at an altitude of 3000 metres (10,000 feet) from the Mean Sea Level (MSL) in the Pir Panjal range of Himalayas.
- The south portal (SP) of Atal Tunnel is situated at a stretch of 25 km from Manali at 3,060 metres height, while the tunnel’s north portal (NP) is located at an 3,071 metres height near village Teling, Sissu, in Lahaul Valley.
- The Atal Tunnel is designed to accommodate around 3000 cars and 1,500 trucks per day at a maximum speed of 80 kmph.
The Atal Bihari Vajpayee government on June 3, 2000 decided to construct the strategic tunnel below the Rohtang Pass. The foundation stone for the access road to the south portal of the tunnel was laid on May 26, 2002.