Srinagar: One-way traffic was on Monday resumed on 434-km-long Srinagar-Leh national highway, which connects the Union Territory of Ladakh with Kashmir valley, after remaining suspended for about four months following accumulation of several feet of snow.
Even though all type of vehicular movement has been permitted on the national highway, only small trucks, carrying essential commodities, including fruits and vegetables, were on Monday allowed to ply from Kashmir to Ladakh. “On Monday only small vehicles, laden with essential commodities, were allowed from Sonamarg to Ladakh,” a police officer told UNI.
He said on Tuesday only one-way traffic from Sonamarg to Ladakh will continue on the highway. “Health checkup centres have been established at Ganderbal and Kargil so that travelers will be tested for COVID-19 before allowing them to move forward,” official sources said.
They said that vehicles preferably should be 4X4 and anti-skid chains be installed on the tyres before allowing them to ply on the highway. “Vehicles should not be overloaded and should carry load as per permissible tonnage while the drivers should be experienced and familiar with the hilly road,” they said.
The traffic on the 434-km-long national highway was suspended on January 1 due to accumulation of several feet of snow. However, they said Border Roads Organisation (BRO), which is responsible for the maintenance of the highway, pressed into service sophisticated machines and cleared the highway for one-way traffic.
Srinagar-Leh National Highway was reopened on February 28 only to be closed after few hours following fresh snowfall and snow avalanches.
Later, the snow clearance operation was once again started by BRO at Zojila pass and finally traffic was allowed on the highway today. Located at a height of 11,575 feet, Zojila is a strategic pass that is a vital link between Kashmir Valley and Ladakh and is critical for the operational preparedness of the armed forces.