ITANAGAR- The 1050-metre escape tube of one of the two tunnels of main Sela Tunnel was excavated open on July 22 last, Border Roads Organization (BRO)’s Project Vartak chief engineer Brig Harish Kumar told this daily over telephone on Friday.
Works of two planned tunnels – one 980-metre long and other 1555-metre long – have been progressing at fast space considering the sensitivity of the projects, he said, adding the construction had started on 01.04.19 with first blast on 31.10.19 to speed up pace of excavation.
BRO Director General Lt Gen Rajeev Chaudhary virtually conducted the last blast of escape tube of under-construction Sela Tunnel to facilitate its faster completion, he said.
Works on two planned tunnels at Sela Pass, one 980 meters long and other 1,555 meters, have been progressing at fast space considering the sensitivity of the project, Brig Kumar said, adding the DG BRO had conducted the first blast of the escape tube during his visit on Army Day in January last.
The tunnel is being excavated below Sela Pass on National Highway 13, part of Trans-Arunachal Highway, to offer a fair weather passage round-the-year and to reduce travel time from Tezpur in Assam to Tawang, he reasoned.
The Sela Tunnel is being developed with new Austrian tunneling technology much below the snow line so that there is no need to remove snow during winter season.
The Sela Pass located at an altitude of 13,800-ft in Tawang district remains traffic unworthy round the year due to heavy snowfalls and fog. As the strategic Balipara-Chardur-Tawang road passing through Sela Pass is used by the armed forces for movement to the Indo-China border, the Defence Ministry had decided to develop the Sela Tunnel from national security point of view, he said.
Thus, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had laid the foundation stone of Sela Tunnel on 09.02.19 to provide all-weather connectivity to Tawang.