The opening of the Atal tunnel at the Rohtang Pass in October 2020 has facilitated an unprecedented increase in vehicular traffic in the region, over the past two years. Most of these vehicles are likely to be with tourists going towards the city of Leh in Ladakh or Himachal Pradesh’s scenic Lahaul valley.
The traffic inflow from Rohtang Pass, before the opening of the highway tunnel, was 4.5 lakh vehicles between January 2018 and October 2020, when the tunnel opened to the public.
After that, over the next 22 months, from October 2020 to August 2022, 17 lakh vehicles crossed the Atal tunnel, shows data from the Himachal Pradesh police. In effect, in the two years since the tunnel opened, traffic inflow increased by approximately 400% compared to the two years before the tunnel opened.
This year, 7.62 lakh vehicles have already passed through the tunnel in the eight months between January 1 and August 19, the data showed.
Before the tunnel, the popular route to tourist spots in Himachal Pradesh and Ladakh, was via the Manali-Leh highway, which would regularly be closed, sometimes up to six months a year, between November and April, owing to weather conditions.
“There is an unprecedented increase in traffic inflow ever since the…