‘Road likely to open by March end’
The strategic 434 km long Srinagar-Leh Highway, the only road linking the Ladakh region with rest of Jammu and Kashmir is likely to open early this year.
The likely early opening of the road is mostly credited to less snowfall this year and the dry weather.
Beacon officials told Rising Kashmir that the snow clearance work on the highway was started on February 24 and is going on. The highway was closed in December last year following heavy snowfall. Border Roads Organization (BRO) officials said that the snow clearance operation from Gagengar to Gumri started on Wednesday, adding that the snow clearance operation will be completed by mid March and the road is expected to be thrown open by ending March.
Pertinently last year the road was officially opened on May 13.
Zojilla Pass on the highway which experiences heavy snowfall and remain closed for several months during winter is considered to be the most difficult and avalanche prone terrain. However this year due to the less snowfall during winters the road clearance operation in high swing it is likely to take less time to clear the as compared to previous years.
Reports said that nearly 8-10 ft of snow has accumulated along Zojila Pass while as 3-4 ft of snow along Sonamarg-Baltal road.
"The snow clearance work has been started and will be completed around mid march and the road is likely to be thrown open by ending March this year subject to good weather," Chief Engineer Beacon, Brig A K Das told Rising Kashmir.
Braving the bone-chilling cold, BRO has pressed dozens of its workers and snow-cutters into service to clear the Zojilla Pass, Das said.
He said that the toughest work to clear snow remains the 30-km-long-stretch up to zero point of Zojilla from Sonamarg.
He said that if weather continues to support, the road is all set to open by March end this year.
Officials added that Project Beacon of Border Road Organization is responsible for clearing the road up to zero point near Zojilla from Sonamarg, while the Vijayak of BRO clears the road from the Kargil side.