Srinagar, January 24:

Traffic was on Sunday restored on the 270-km-long Srinagar-Jammu national highway, the only road connecting Kashmir valley with the rest of the country, after remaining closed since Friday.
However, only Kashmir-bound vehicles, which were stranded at various places on the highway, are being cleared.

“Traffic on the highway has been restored and only stranded vehicles are being allowed to move towards Kashmir valley,” a traffic police official told UNI.

The Srinagar-Jammu national highway was on Saturday closed due to accumulation of snow at Qazigund, on both sides of Jawahar tunnel, Shaitan Nallah and Banihal, besides mudslides and shooting stones in Ramban district.

However, he said the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI), responsible for the maintenance of the highway, pressed into service sophisticated machines and cleared the snow and mudslides.
He said only stranded vehicles will be allowed on Monday towards Srinagar, besides local traffic between Ramban and Banihal. “No vehicle will be allowed in the opposite direction,” he said, adding fresh traffic will be allowed only after clearing the stranded vehicles.

The Srinagar-Jammu national highway was closed for vehicular traffic on Friday for weekly maintenance and repair of the road. The Union Territory (UT) administration has decided to allow NHAI to undertake weekly necessary repair work every Friday after frequent disruption in traffic movement on the highway.

He said the weight bearing capacity of the installed bailey bridge is less than 40 metric ton. 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 a 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.

“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.

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 several feet of snow.

The national highway, the only road connecting Union Territory (UT) of Ladakh with Kashmir, has been closed since January 1, 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.