World's Longest Twin-Lane Tunnel Inaugurated In Arunachal Pradesh

Sela tunnel, the Border Roads Organisation's INR 825 crore project, ensures all-weather connectivity to Tawang, reinforcing defence capabilities and fostering socio-economic development in the region
Sela tunnel is located at an elevation of 13,000 ft in Arunachal Pradesh
Sela tunnel is located at an elevation of 13,000 ft in Arunachal Pradesh

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on March 9, inaugurated the world's longest twin-lane Sela tunnel, located at an elevation of 13,000 ft in Arunachal Pradesh. Constructed by the Border Roads Organisation (BRO) for INR 825 crore, the tunnel is strategically vital due to its proximity to the Line of Actual Control (LAC) and is expected to provide all-weather connectivity to Tawang.

The Sela tunnel project consists of two tunnels, the first being a single-tube tunnel spanning 1,003 meters and the second measuring 1,595 meters, equipped with an emergency escape tube. This state-of-the-art tunnel also includes an 8.6 km-long approach and link roads.

According to a BRO official, the escape tube runs parallel to the main tunnel and is interconnected with cross passages every 500 meters. In emergencies, the escape tube can facilitate the movement of rescue vehicles and the evacuation of stranded individuals.

Designed to accommodate a traffic density of 3,000 cars and 2,000 trucks per day, with a maximum speed of 80 km per hour, the Sela tunnel addresses the challenge posed by the closure of the Balipara-Chariduar-Tawang road during heavy snowfall and landslides in the region.

PM Modi, who laid the foundation stone for the project on February 9, 2019, said, "Sela Tunnel's inauguration is a moment of great pride for us. When I had laid the foundation stone for it a few years ago, some people were unsure that this project would be completed soon because the work culture that prevailed for several decades normalised delays."

The Sela tunnel was constructed using the New Austrian Tunneling Method (NATM), and its execution required over 90 lakh man-hours, with an average of around 650 personnel and labourers working every day for the past five years. The project utilised 71,000 metric tonnes of cement, 5,000 metric tonnes of steel, and 800 metric tonnes of explosives.

The BRO completed the project despite facing challenges such as high snowfall, rainfall, and freezing temperatures for approximately 762 days during the five-year construction period. The tunnel is expected to enhance the Indian Army's capabilities at the LAC, enabling speedy deployment of troops, weapons, and machinery to the forward areas along the Indo-China border. Moreover, the Sela tunnel is anticipated to boost the socio-economic development of the border areas, providing all-weather connectivity to Tawang and forward areas.

(With inputs from PTI)

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