Highway connecting Ladakh with Kashmir, Mughal road closed

SRINAGAR: The 434-km-long Srinagar-Leh national highway, the only road connecting Union Territory (UT) of Ladakh with Kashmir, and historic 86-km-long Mughal road were closed on Friday due to heavy snowfall since Thursday evening.

However, the national highway, the only all weather road, linking Kashmir valley with the rest of the country, was through for one-way traffic despite snow and rain, a traffic police official told UNI.

“Today traffic will ply from Jammu to Srinagar,” he said, adding no vehicle will be allowed from opposite direction.

Hundreds of vehicles, including 180 trucks and those carrying passengers, got stranded on Srinagar-Leh national highway between Zojila and India gate following fresh snowfall last evening due to which road became slippery.

However, the district administration of central Kashmir district of Ganderbal alongwith police immediately launched a rescue operation, official said, adding 180 trucks which were stranded at different places on Zojila pass were brought to Sonamarg. He said hundreds of passengers and truckers who were also stranded at India gate and other places were rescued and taken to safer places, they said adding the rescue operation continued till 0130 hrs of Friday.

Traffic on the highway has been closed from both Srinagar and Drass, second coldest place in the world after Siberia on the highway.

The highway, connecting Ladakh with Kashmir, remained closed for six months during winter due to below freezing temperature and accumulation of snow since November 1st every year. However, for the past few years due to efforts of the local administration and Border Roads Organisation (BRO) highway now remains open in the month of December also till there is heavy snowfall.

Meanwhile, the 86-km-long historic Mughal road remained closed for the 17th consecutive day on Friday due to fresh snowfall since Thursday evening. There was already several feet of snow accumulated week. The road which is seen as alternative to Srinagar-Jammu national highway connects Shopian in south Kashmir with Rajouri and Poonch.