SRINAGAR: The Border Roads Organisation (BRO) and Project Vijayak, responsible for maintaining the 434 km long Srinagar-Leh highway, have mobilised personnel and machinery to clear the route for traffic.

Zojila pass in winters (KL Image: Bilal Bahadur)

The highway was closed last week due to snow, and efforts have been ongoing since then to reopen it.

A senior BRO official highlighted the challenges faced annually during snow clearance operations, particularly due to avalanches in areas such as Zojila Pass, Zero Point, Captain Mode, Gumri, Shaitani Nallah, and Pani Matha.

Despite adverse weather conditions and avalanche threats, concerted efforts are being made to clear snow at Zojila Pass and reopen the road for traffic.

The Srinagar-Leh highway shuts down for winter months each year in December due to heavy snow accumulation and slippery road conditions, especially between Sonamarg-Zojilla and Meenmarg. Consequently, the region remains inaccessible for over six months in Jammu and Kashmir. This highway serves as the sole road link connecting Ladakh with the rest of the state.

The central government has allocated funds for the construction of the Zojila Tunnel to ensure all-weather connectivity. The 14.2 km long tunnel under Zojila pass, nestled in the Himalayas between Sonamarg and Drass town of Kargil, was approved in January 2018. Construction commenced in May 2018, with the tunnel expected to drastically reduce travel time from over 3 to 4 hours to just 15 minutes—(KNO)

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