Running three years behind schedule, excavation of the 8.8km all-weather Rohtang Tunnel will be finished in October.

Being built under the Rohtang Pass at an altitude of 4km, the highest road tunnel of India will be functional for emergency vehicles through this winter but will get fully operational by August 15, 2019. The tunnel in Himachal Pradesh will bring down the distance between the Manali and Leh by 46km. At present the distance between the two towns is 474km that takes 6 to 8 hours to cover. The tunnel will reduce the travel time by 2.5 hours.

With only 250m of excavation works left, the two tunnel portals will be connected by October-end. Engineers used the drill and blast technique for excavation as part of the New Austrian Tunneling Method. India’s Border Roads Organisation is excavating the tunnel with Strabag-Afcons, a joint venture between India’s Afcons Infrastructure and Austria’s Strabag.

The project missed its 2015 deadline due to geological challenges since work started in 2010. The water ingress from Seri Nullah, a glacier-fed rivulet, above the tunnel was a challenge. In 2012, it took engineers almost a year to plug the seepage. The delay in permission for quarrying construction material slowed down work at the north portal. The ban on environmental clearances to mining also led to the shortage of construction material.

Published date: 10/01/2017
Quote from Hindustan Times