Running almost parallel to the Line of Actual Control (LAC), the 255-km long Darbuk-Shyokh-Daulat Beg Oldie (DSDBO) road, which meanders through elevations ranging between 13,000 ft and 16,000 ft, took India’s road construction executive force, Border Roads Organisation (BRO) almost two decades to construct.
The all-weather strategic road which connects Leh to Daulat Beg Oldie (DBO) and is the northernmost tip of Indian territory in Ladakh, was at the central-stage when Defence Minister Rajnath Singh dedicated 75 infrastructure projects built by BRO at a function organised at DSDBO road in Ladakh on October 28, 2022.
These 75 projects (45 bridges, 27 roads, two Helipads & one Carbon Neutral Habitat) sits in the six border states and two Union Territories (UTs). One of the main highlights of the event was the onsite inauguration of 120-metre long Class 70 ‘Shyok Setu Bridge’ on DSDBO Road at an altitude of 14,000 feet, which will facilitate logistics movement of the Armed Forces.
Notably in 2021, a total of 100 bridges, roads, tunnels constructed by the BRO were inaugurated to bolster the border infrastructure and connectivity.
The BRO has been reaffirming India’s commitment to ensure the progress of far-flung areas to fulfill the security needs of the country. The upcoming strategic projects by the BRO are the testimony of the same, which includes country’s first-ever underwater ‘Road-cum-Rail’ tunnels in Assam, World’s Highest tunnel at Shinku La Pass to connect Himachal to Ladakh, among others.
With an estimated cost of Rs 7,000 crore, the BRO is building the first-ever underwater road-cum-rail tunnels across the Brahmaputra river in the eastern state of Assam. The strategic collaboration between Indian Railways and Road Transport Ministry along with BRO will lay the foundation of three parallel tunnels — two for the road, and one for the rail.
“The three tube tunnel under Brahmaputra river will be a unique tunnel under any river in the world. It will be the longest tunnel under a river which will have rail and road connectivity,” DGBR, Lt Gen Rajeev Chaudhary told PBNS.
The tunnels which will have a length of 9.8 kilometers each, will be the first project where integrated tunnel construction will be undertaken. Further, these tunnels will be inter-connected with cross passage for evacuation in case of any emergency.
The strategic multi-modal transportation tunnel underwater system aims to amalgamate the rail and highway network through the Jamurihat-Silghat axis towards North Assam, Tawang and the rest of Arunachal Pradesh, which will be used for both civilian and strategic purposes.
Next in the list is World’s highest tunnel at ‘Umlingla Pass’ at 15,855 feet, which will connect Himachal Pradesh to Ladakh.
“Today the highest tunnel in the world is in China named ‘Mi La’, which is at 15,585 ft. But Umlingla Pass tunnel will be built at an altitude of 15,855 feet, which will be the world’s highest tunnel when it will be completed,” DGBR Lieutenant General Rajeev Chaudhary further added.
Coming to the global feats, the BRO bagged the Guinness World Record for constructing highest motorable road in the world (19,024 feet) at Umlingla Pass in Ladakh.
BRO’s engineering marvel ‘Atal Tunnel’ was officially certified as the ‘World’s Longest Highway Tunnel’ above 10,000 Feet by World Book of Records in February 2022. Nestled in Pir Panjal Ranges of the Himalayas, the visionary project of ‘Atal Tunnel’ is 9.02 km long and strategically significant. It runs under the ‘Rohtang Pass’(13,500 feet above sea level), which was constructed on the Manali – Leh Highway under the extremely challenging conditions of freezing cold in mountainous difficult terrain.