NH-21, the Manali-Rohtang Pass highway, is one of the most crowded highways in the country. At the height of 13, 051 feet, the Manali-Rohtang Pass road, situated on the eastern Pir Panjal Mountain Range of the Himalayas attracts cluster of tourists and visitors not just from different corners of the country but also from other countries who throng the place to witness the beauty of the valley and the road that connects the Kullu Valley with the Lahaul & Spiti valleys of Himachal Pradesh.
According to a report in Times of India a trepidation has hit the tourists travelling on the Manali-Rohtang Pass highway as the road is sinking at many places. The reason of the huge cracks at several places on the Manali-Rohtang highway and the dropping of the retention walls at some places is believed to have appeared due to excessive rainfall and snowfall in the area.
Cracks on the Manali-Rohtang Pass highway
It is reported that on the Manali-Rohtang highway the road between Gulaba (6 km away from Rohtang pass and 20 km away from Manali) and Rohtang Pass is cut through the sharp mountain face. Due to the heavy traffic on the road Border Roads Organization (BRO) had recently built and widened the road. To strengthen this road at such a steep height BRO had also set up huge retaining walls and breast walls as well. Despite such safety measures to safeguard this road it is difficult to overcome the threat from rolling stones that the region faces. This is one of the other reasons why at some spots the road has developed big cracks. The amount of snowfall that this area received in this season has made the region soggy. Though the roads in the region are constructed keeping all the facts in mind, the excessive moisture due to heavy snowfall has resulted in making the region boggy.
Most dangerous area on the stretch
Due to two landslides this season in the area, 2 km before Beas nullah, a large portion of Chumbak Mor area has become a new threat to the road and subsequently for those driving on the road as well. Nevertheless, one of the most dangerous areas on Manali – Rohtang Pass highway, approximately a 300 metre-long unsteady portion of the highway close to the Rahni nullah is temporarily sturdy.
What are the future prospects?
BRO is keeping no stone unturned to make the roads in the border areas, especially the Manali-Rohtang highway, that further connects to Leh-Ladakh safe and secure for driving. The Organisation has successfully safeguarded a significant part of the 222 km Manali-Sarchu highway. It is widening endangered areas by constructing concrete walls to ensure two vehicles pass at a time on the steep road. There are plans to build a wide bridge on Rahni nullah, the area that experiences avalanches and landslides and is among one the most accident-prone areas on the Manali-Rohtang Pass- Leh road. BRO is hopeful to make the Manali-Leh road a one-day drive which is currently a two-day drive.
Hills have always been thrilling for adventure lovers. The Manali-Leh highway which is approximately 490 kms, is indeed one of the must travel roads for those who want to push themselves to the limit and want to put to test their driving skills. It is believed that the Rohtang Tunnel, which is being built by BRO will shorten the distance by approximately 60 kms and driving inside a tunnel at such a high altitude will be a different experience altogether.