BRO expediting world’s longest tunnel project

By A O News Service

ITANAGAR, Dec 30: The Border Road Organisation (BRO) Project Vartak has been working relentlessly on Sela Pass tunnel on Tawang axis. Once complete it will be longest bi-lane tunnel in the world above 13,000-feet, BRO in nation building, Jai Hind! Jai BRO!” BRO tweeted on Saturday.

The under-construction road tunnel to ensure all-weather connectivity between Guwahati in Assam and Tawang in Arunachal Pradesh, is being excavated below 13,800-ft Sell Pass, as part of Trans-Arunachal Highway, to link NH-13 by a new 12.4-km road to avoid winter snowfalls, reduce distance between Dirang and Tawang. The new road from the tunnel will meet existing Balipara-Chaudur-Tawang road on Nurarang side to avoid hairpin bends to Sela. It is being built using New Austrian Tunneling Method (NATM) much below the snow line allowing all weather travel without the challenges of snow clearance.

This strategic tunnel will enhance Indian military’s capabilities to combat threat of China’s Western Theater Command opposite India’s eastern sector of LAC as it will cut travel distance from Army IV Crops HQs at Tezpur to Tawang by at least 10-km and time by one hour and also help make NH-13 an all-weather road to access Tawang which usually gets disconnected during winter. The tunnels would ensure that the 171-km road between Bomdila and Tawang remains accessible in all weather conditions.

The Sela Tunnel, being built by Project Vartak led by CE Brig Raman Kumar, cuts through Sela–Charbela ridge, which separates Tawang and West Kamng district to provide two tunnels of two tunnels  of 1,558-ft and 5,870-ft long and an escape tube of 980-m to bypass Sela Pass maintaining an elevation of 10,000-f.The construction commenced in 2019 and targeted to be complete by March, 2023.

The BRO is also improving Sangestar Tso (north of Tawang) to Bum La Pass road  on India-China LAC (disputed parts of McMahon Line) while NH13 has been converted to 2-lane road.. The tunnel will add to tourist potential to make Tawang a more popular tourist destination in NE region.

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