India Business
Rohtang tunnel may be ready before 2014
May 3, 2007 - 6:54:33 PM

Shimla, May 3 - The use of latest tunnel boring machines in building the 8.8 km Rohtang tunnel in Himachal Pradesh could reduce the time taken for its construction by at least a year, besides reducing costs.

According to earlier estimates, the Rs.11.23 billion Rohtang tunnel some 300 km from here was to be completed in 2014 after work starts early 2008.

'Work on boring the country's longest road tunnel will begin early next year and the contract would be awarded by the end of this year,' said Krishan Pratap Singh, head of the Border Road Organisation -, here Thursday.

'The consultancy work has already been awarded to Smeck, an Australian company, which will soon submit its report recommending the exact technique of boring the tunnel,' he said.

'If the latest boring technique is used instead of the drill and blast method, it could reduce costs and also construction time by one to two years,' said Singh.

The strategically important 480-km-long Manali-Leh highway connects the landlocked region of Ladakh in Jammu and Kashmir but the high altitude road remains blocked due to heavy snow over the high passes for more than half the year.

The snowfall is heaviest at the 13,050 ft high Rohtang Pass. This tunnel will be built below the Pass so that it bypasses the heavy snow, besides reducing the distance by 46 km, officials say.

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