Work on Rohtang Tunnel is estimated to complete by 2019, said Border Roads Organization director general RM Mittal, who visited the project site on Friday to review its progress.
The 8.8 km tunnel, which is under construction since 2009, will provide all-weather road connectivity to the tribal Lahaul Spiti district, which remains cut off for six months every winter due to heavy snowfall on the 13,050-feet-high Rohtang Pass, and reduce the distance between Manali and Keylong by 46 km.
Talking with reporters at Dundhi, about 20 km from Manali, where he inaugurated a bridge over the Beas river, Mittal said Rohtang Tunnel was a prestigious defence project being built under the aegis of HQ CE (Project) Rohtang Tunnel.
Being built under the Rohtang Pass in the eastern Pir Panjal range, at 8.802 km, Rohtang Tunnel would be one of the longest road tunnels in India, he said.
“The road axis leading to Rohtang Tunnel and beyond Palchan-Dhundi-Rohtang Tunnel-Khoksar, connecting Lahaul Spiti will be about 22.52-km long. This will be an all-weather road with three bridges and 13 avalanche-prone sites along the route. Work is in progress to construct protection at the avalanche-prone sites and also at the three bridges at Palchan, Dhundi and North Portal (Chandra River) at Khoksar,” Mittal added.
The bridge at Dhundi that was inaugurated on Friday is a six-span bridge, with three spans of pre-stressed concrete and three spans of reinforced cement concrete and a total length of 206m. It was constructed in four-and-a-half years.
Mittal said the BRO team was working relentlessly to complete the project in time, as it was much waited by the people of Lahaul Spiti and was also strategic from the defence point of view.