Nitin Gadkari to review Rohtang tunnel progress today
Engineers working at the strategic Rohtang tunnel are battling to tackle water seepage which has slowed down the ongoing workUpdated: Jul 27, 2018 10:39 IST
Union transport and highways minister Nitin Gadkari is scheduled to visit the Rohtang tunnel on Friday to review the work progress. He will hold separate consultations with defence engineers, besides meeting chief minister Jai Ram Thakur and his cabinet colleagues over central-aided projects in Manali.
He will fly to the northern portal of the tunnel at Sissu and later in the day he will inspect the work at Dhundhi. He will also review the progress of the national highways in evening, which he announced for the state before assembly elections. He had announced 62 national highways for the Himachal state.
Water seepage hits work at Rohtang tunnel
Engineers working at the strategic Rohtang tunnel are battling to tackle water seepage which has slowed down the ongoing work, even as the is keen to inaugurate the project before the Lok Sabha elections due next year.
The project is running three years behind schedule. Work on the project started in 2010 and was to be completed by February 2015.
Engineers have not been able to plug in the seepage from Seri nullah, a glacier-fed rivulet that flows above the tunnel, and to speed up the tunneling work they will now be changing the course of the nullah. The nullah is a tributary of the Beas.
“Though water ingress has come down reduced from 100 litres to 20 liters a minute, we still will have to channelise the rivulet,” said an engineer involved in the tunneling work.
The project engineers will use water proofing technique to minimize the water seepage in the tunnel that is scheduled to be completed by August 15 next year. The seepage has been spotted at Dhundhi, 1.8 kilometres from the tunnel’s southern end.
In October 2017, the boring work was completed and the tunnel’s Dhundhi and Sissu ends were connected. Defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman had inspected tunnel at that time.
The tunnel will shorten the 474-km distance between Manali and Leh by 46 km.
The maximum speed limit in the tunnel will be 80km per hour. The tunnel will help accelerate troop mobility to the strategic frontiers in Jammu and Kashmir, besides providing a road link to Lahaul and Spiti that remains cut off from the rest of world following heavy snowfall at the 13,590-foot high Rohtang pass in the winter.
While the estimated cost of the project in 2010 was ₹1,700 crore, it was revised to ₹2,000 crore in 2015. The estimated cost by 2019 will be ₹4,000 crore.
The project was announced by the then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee in June 2000. The United Progressive Alliance (UPA) chairperson Sonia Gandhi laid foundation stone of the project on June 28, 2010.
First Published: Jul 27, 2018 10:39 IST