Marvel Behind World’s Highest & Longest Tunnel
Marvel Behind World’s Highest & Longest Tunnel, Atal Tunnel at Rohtang in Himachal Pradesh is opened for traffic on 3rd October 2020. The tunnel spans about a record length of 9.02 km surpassing Zhongnanshan Tunnel in China. Atal tunnel connects Manali to Lahaul-Spiti valley through an all weather road, which serves during an entire year. Kerala also hold a pride position in the construction of this tunnel. The construction was helmed by BRO Chief Engineer Brigadier K P Purushothaman, a native of Kannur Munderi.
Lets Talk Engineering!
Here is the very first episode of Lets Talk Engineering – A monthly talk series by Eminent Engineers on 24.04.2021.
Episode : 1
Brigadier.K P Purushothaman
Addtl. Director General (Retd.)
Border Roads Organisation
– The Malayali behind Atal Tunnel
Subject: Challenges on making Atal Tunnel Rohtang
A joint venture by Civilianz & Swadeshi Science Movement in association with Indian Concrete Institute – Trivandrum Chapter
About the Man Behind: Brigadier K P Purushothaman
Purushothaman went to Delhi after completing his polytechnic in Kannur and graduated in civil engineering. He also holds a PG Diploma and MBA in construction management. He passed the UPSC exam in 1987 and joined the Border Roads Organisation. His first assignment was at the Andaman and Nicobar Islands as assistant executive engineer. He later worked in Nagaland, Rajasthan, Mizoram, Jammu and Kashmir, Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand and also a part of many important road projects on the China, Pakistan borders. He served in Kerala on deputation for two years from 2015 to 2017. In 2019, he awarded the Vishisht Seva Medal in recognition of his services.
5 interesting facts about Atal Tunnel
- It is a horseshoe-shaped, single tube double lane tunnel with a roadway of 8 metres and an overhead clearance of 5.525 metres.
- It has designed for a traffic density of 3,000 cars and 1,500 trucks per day with a maximum speed of 80 km/hr
- The tunnel is 10.5-metre wide and a 3.6 X 2.25 metre fireproof emergency egress tunnel built into the main tunnel itself.
- The tunnel is equipped with various security features such as CCTV cameras, telephone connections at every 150 metres for any emergency, fire hydrant mechanism at every 60 metres and auto incident detection system
- There are evacuation lighting and exit signs at every 25 metres and broadcasting system throughout the stretch.
Marvel Behind World’s Highest & Longest Tunnel Construction:
An engineering marvel, it took 10 years for the Indian Army’s elite road construction agency, Border Roads Organization, to complete the tunnel, constructed at an estimated cost of Rs 3,300 crore. The construction contract of the tunnel awarded to Strabag-Afcons, a joint venture between India-based Afcons Infrastructure and Austria’s Strabag.
The 9.02-km long tunnel, shaped like a horse shoe, is the longest highway tunnel in the world and connects Manali to Lahaul-Spiti valley throughout the year. Earlier, the valley used to be cut off for about six months every year due to heavy snowfall.
The tunnel has consumed 12,252 metric tonnes of steel, 1,69,426 metric tonnes of cement and 1,01,336 metric tonnes of concrete, and excavated 5,05,264 metric tonnes of soil and rocks by adopting the latest Austrian tunneling method for construction.
Atal tunnel reduces the distance between Manali and Leh by 46 kilometers and also reduce commute time. Atal tunnel also helps the residents of both Lahaul and Spiti Valley which remain cut off from the nation during winters due to heavy snowfall.
The work began from both sides at the same time. The two sides called the South Portal and the North Portal. The Rohtang Pass was closed during the winter as it is not possible to travel in the snow, and the work on the North Portal couldn’t be carried out for months together.