Srinagar: The 434-km Srinagar-Leh National Highway, the only road linking Kashmir with frontier region of Ladakh, has been partially thrown open to vehicular traffic after remaining closed for over six months owing to heavy snowfall during winter.

“The Divisional Administration allowed one way regulated movement of light motor vehicles (LMVs) on the Srinagar-Leh highway on May 11 under strict observation as there is still huge accumulation of snow on the sides of the arterial road,” Divisional Commissioner, Kashmir, Shailendra Kumar today said.

He said the Border Roads Organisation (BRO) and the Army has been conducting regular trial recce of the road to ascertain its traffic worthiness, however, due to continuous inclement weather, they have conveyed that the road is not yet fully safe for traffic due to constant danger of slides and avalanches.

Kumar said although the road has been opened but snow slides are occurring at certain stretches of the road which are being cleared by the BRO, which maintains the highway.

“Divisional Administration is according utmost priority to the safety of life of the passengers and only after receiving positive indications and clearance regarding traffic worthiness of the road from the concerned, will the (full) traffic be allowed to ply,” he said.

Seeking cooperation of the people, Kumar said “Once the situation with regards to weather becomes favourable and road condition improves, heavy vehicles will also be allowed to ply along with LMVs.”

Subject to fair weather, the Divisional Commissioner said as of now only LMVs are allowed from Srinagar to Drass and Drass to Srinagar on alternate days.

The strategic highway passes through the 11,578-foot high Zojila pass which lies on the lower depressions of the Himalayan ranges, 107 kms from here.

The pass attracts the heaviest snowfall during the winter and as such it remains closed to traffic for five to six months in a year.

The arterial road was closed for traffic in December last year but the unprecedented snowfall this year posed the biggest hurdle to its early opening, officials said.

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