Jammu-Srinagar highway remains shut for 2nd day

JAMMU / SRINAGAR, Jan 23 (Agencies): The 270-km-long Jammu- Srinagar national highway, the only road connecting Kashmir valley with the rest of the country, remained closed for the second consecutive day on Saturday, when there was fresh snowfall at different places since early Saturday morning.
On Friday, no traffic was allowed on the highway for weekly maintenance and repair of the road, a traffic police official said.
He said traffic remained suspended on the highway due to fresh snowfall at Qazigund, on both sides of Jawahar tunnel, Shaitan Nallah and Banihal. There was also rain in Ramban and Ramsu areas, he said.
The official said the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI), responsible for the maintenance of the highway, has put into service sophisticated machines to clear the snow. However, continued snowfall and threat of landslides and shooting stones has hampered the road clearance operation.
He said traffic will be resumed only after getting green signal from the NHAI and traffic police personnel deployed on the highway.
He said traffic was to ply from Jammu to Srinagar today on the highway. However, Light Motor Vehicles (LMVs) had to cross Nagrota between 0800 hrs to 1200 hrs and Jakheni Udhampur 0900 hrs to 1300 hrs, he said adding Heavy Motor Vehicles (HMVs) would be allowed from Jekhani after LMVs.
He said security forces were also advised to ply from Jammu to Srinagar. No vehicle will be allowed from opposite direction.
Traffic police official said that Srinagar-Jammu national highway was closed on Friday to allow NHAI to carry out necessary maintenance and repair work on the road. The Union Territory (UT) administration has decided to allow NHAI to undertake weekly necessary repair work on Friday after frequent disruption in traffic movement on the highway.
Meanwhile, construction of bridge at Kela Morh by NHAI was going on war footing despite sub zero temperature. The bridge is likely to open for traffic on January 29 provided there is no weather disruption, NHAI officials said.
The main concrete bridge was damaged on January 10 after a retaining wall was damaged. Since there was no alternative available to resume traffic, Border Roads Organisation (BRO) constructed 40 metric tone capacity bailey bridge and traffic was allowed on January 17. Since only one vehicle can pass the bailey bridge at a time, one-way traffic was allowed on the highway.
Meanwhile, the 86-km-long historic Mughal road, linking Shopian in south Kashmir with Rajouri and Poonch in Jammu region and Anantnag-Sampthan-Kishtwar road also remained closed since last week of December, 2020 due to accumulation of snow.
The national highway, the only road connecting Union Territory (UT) of Ladakh with Kashmir has been closed since January Ist, 2021 for winter months due to accumulation of snow. The Government of India (GoI) has already sanctioned tunnel at Zojila pass to make it all weather road.

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