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Himachal conducts electric bus trial run from Kullu-Manali to Lahaul-Spiti through Atal tunnel
The Himachal Road Transport Corporation (HRTC) on Friday ran an electric bus on a trial basis across the 9.02-km tunnel which is also a tourist attraction. The tunnel provides easy, year-round access to tourists heading to Lahaul and Spiti. It reduces the road distance by 46 km between Manali and Leh, a strategic highway, and the time by 4 to 5 hours. The south portal is at a distance of 25 km from Manali.

MANALI, Nov 2: With a surge in the tourist flow to Lahaul and Spiti after the inauguration of the Atal Tunnel underneath Rohtang Pass, the Himachal Pradesh Government has decided to run eco- friendly electric buses between Kullu-Manali and Keylong.

The Himachal Road Transport Corporation (HRTC) on Friday ran an electric bus on a trial basis on the route. The 9.02-km tunnel, the longest above 10,000 feet in the world, has in itself become a major tourist attraction. The tunnel facilitates year-round access to Lahaul and Spiti, an old tourist site, on the northern side of the tunnel.

Atal Tunnel:

The Rohtang Pass in the eastern Pir Panjal range lies on the Manali-Leh Highway. The all-weather tunnel through the Pass was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on October 3 last.

The Atal Tunnel is the longest highway tunnel in the World. The 9.02 Km long tunnel connects Manali to Lahaul-Spiti valley throughout the year. Earlier the valley was cut off for about 6 months each year owing to heavy snowfall.

The tunnel is built with ultra-modern specifications in the Pir Panjal range of Himalayas at an altitude of 3000 mtrs (10,000 Feet) from the Mean Sea Level (MSL).

The tunnel reduces the road distance by 46 km between Manali and Leh and the time by about 4 to 5 hours.

The South Portal (SP) of Atal Tunnel is located at a distance of 25 km from Manali at an altitude of 3060 mtrs, while the North Portal (NP) of the tunnel is located near village Teling, Sissu, in Lahaul Valley at an altitude of 3071 mtrs. It is horseshoe-shaped, single tube double lane tunnel with a roadway of 8 mtrs. It has an overhead clearance of 5.525 mtrs.

It is 10.5-metre wide and has a 3.6 x 2.25 mtrs fire proof emergency egress tunnel built into the main tunnel itself.

The Atal tunnel has been designed for traffic density of 3000 cars per day and 1500 trucks per day with max speed of 80 km/hr.

It has the state-of-the art electromechanical system including semi transverse ventilation system, SCADA controlled firefighting, illumination and monitoring system.

The tunnel has ample safety features built into it. Some of the key safety features are:

(a) Tunnel entry barriers at both portals. (b) Telephone connections at every 150 mtrs for emergency communication. (c) Fire hydrant mechanisms at every 60 mtrs. (d) Auto incident detection system with CCTV cameras at every 250 mtrs. (e) Air quality monitoring at every 1 Km. (f) Evacuation lighting / exit signs at every 25 mtrs. (g) Broadcasting system throughout the tunnel. (h) Fire rated dampers at every 50 mtrs. (i) Cameras at every 60 mtrs.

The decision to construct a strategic tunnel below the Rohtang Pass was taken on June 3, 2000 when the late Atal Bihari Vajpayee was the Prime Minister.

The tunnel was constructed by Border Roads Organisation (BRO).

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