Dharamsala: The work on the longest road tunnel in the country to be built under Rohtang Pass on the Leh-Manali Highway will start from April next year after snow melts, Himachal Pradesh government said on Saturday.
PWD minister Gulab Singh Thakur told the state assembly that the tender for the project has already been approved by the Centre and work will begin from April under supervision of Border Road Organisation (BRO).
“The estimated cost of the project is Rs1700 crore,” he said in reply to a question.
“The 9 km long tunnel would be double-lane and connect Palchans near Solang Nullah in Kullu district to Koksar in Lahaul and Spiti district, facilitating the movement of vehicles at a high speed of 80 km per hour, he added.
The foundation of the tunnel was laid by the then prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee in May, 2002.
The tunnel would not only facilitate all-weather movement to the state’s tribal Lahaul and Spiti district but also to Ladakh region in Jammu and Kashmir.
The tunnel, expected to be ready by 2014, will reduce the distance between Manali and Leh in Jammu and Kashmir by 40 km, from 475 km at present.
Movement of traffic to Leh through Rohtang pass situated at a height of 13,050 ft is affected in winter because of snow.