Atal Tunnel, the world’s longest highway tunnel above 10,000 feet, is set to connect Manali with Leh. The construction of the tunnel named after former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee has been completed in 10 years. The original estimated time of construction was less than six years.

“Atal Tunnel, connecting Manali to Leh, is the world’s longest highway tunnel above 10,000 feet. The estimated period for completion of this tunnel was less than 6 years but it was completed in 10 years,” the project’s Chief Engineer KP Purushothaman said as quoted by ANI.

“There are CCTV cameras at every 60 metres and emergency exit tunnels at every 500 metres inside the tunnel. The tunnel will reduce the distance between Manali and Leh by 46 kilometres and four hours can be saved,” he added.

Five hydrants have been installed in the Atal Tunnel to avoid any fire accident. According to Purushothaman, the width of the tunnel is 10.5 metres. One metre area on both the sides has been left as footpath inside the tunnel.

Director of the Atal Tunnel project, Colonel Parikshit Mehra, was quoted as saying “We have had this dream to connect Leh and this was the first step to the connectivity ladder. This tunnel was a challenging project because we were working only from two ends. The other end was in North, across the Rohtang Pas which was accessible only for around five months in a year.”