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Infrastructure

Amazing feat! World’s highest motorable road now in India; BRO completes Umlingla Pass construction

highest motorable roadThe road provides the local residents with an alternative direct route to Demchok and Chisumle from Leh. (Photo credit: Twitter/PIB India)

The crown for the world’s highest motorable road now rests with India after the Border Roads Organisation completed construction of the road at Umlingla Pass in eastern Ladakh. The Border Roads Organisation constructed and black-topped the road at 19,300 ft. The 52-km long tarmac road through Umlingla Pass betters the record of a Bolivian road that connects to the Uturuncu volcano at 18,953 ft.

The important towns in eastern Ladakh’s Chumar sector will all be connected by this road, which comes as a boon for the local population. The road provides the local residents with an alternative direct route to Demchok and Chisumle from Leh. It will also increase the region’s socio-economic condition as well as promote tourism in Ladakh.

The Border Roads Organisation crew braved the odds to develop the road, particularly due to the extreme and harsh terrain that make infrastructure development challenging. Winter temperatures of -40 degrees Celsius are very common in the region, while the oxygen level at the altitude is almost half that at normal places.

The road stands higher than the base camps of Mt Everest. The South Base Camp in Nepal is located at 17,598 ft, while the North Base Camp located in neighbouring Tibet is at 16,900 ft. The altitude of the road also dwarfs that of the Siachen Glacier’s 17,700 ft, while Leh’s Khardung La Pass has an altitude of 17,582 ft.

It also dwarfs the highest road in Europe, which is located in Russia. The ascent to Mount Elbrus, at an altitude of 13,267ft, is a dirt track where only specially prepared vehicles can drive. Spain’s Veleta Peak also features among the highest paved roads in the continent. However, at 11,135ft, it comes nowhere close to the new Umlingla Pass. South America also boasts several high-altitude motorable roads. However, how they determine the altitude — on the basis of driveability or till the point a bicycle or highly modified vehicles can reach — creates confusion.

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