No traffic on Srinagar-Jammu highway for weekly maintenance

SRINAGAR : Due to weekly maintenance no traffic was allowed on Friday on the 270-km-long Srinagar-Jammu national highway, the only all weather road connecting Kashmir valley with the rest of the country.
There was massive traffic jam on the highway between Qazigund to Ramban after all civilian vehicles were stopped to allow paramilitary security forces convoy from Srinagar to Jammu, alleged passengers.
Meanwhile, the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) is likely to open on January 29 the bridge at Kela Morh which was damaged after a retaining wall collapsed on January 10.
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 snow.
The national highway, the only road connecting Union Territory (UT) of Ladakh with Kashmir has been closed since January Ist, 2021 for winter months due to accumulation of snow. The Centre has already sanctioned tunnel at Zojila pass to make it all weather road.
A traffic police official said that Srinagar-Jammu national highway will remain closed today to allow NHAI to carry out necessary maintenance and repair work on the road. The Union Territory (UT) administration has decided to allow NHAI to undertake weekly necessary repair work on Friday after frequent disruption in traffic movement 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.
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 40 metric tone capacity 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.
Meanwhile, there was heavy traffic jam on the highway on Thursday when authorities allowed security force convoy and stopped all civilian vehicles.
”We were stopped since morning till about 1430 hrs on this side of the Jawahar tunnel to allow free movement of security forces, who were brought here to conduct of District Development Council (DDC) elections, from Srinagar to Jammu”, the passengers and those travelling in their own vehicles alleged.
The passengers, including women, children and elderly persons alleged that they had to wait for hours before finally caught in massive traffic jam after civilian traffic was allowed.
The 31-member Parliamentary Standing Committee (PSC) was also informed yesterday about the uncertain highway, which often gets closed due to shooting stones and landslides by stakeholders, including Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industries (KCCI) and others. The PSC was here on a three day visit to discussed various issues pertaining to revival of tourism sector and over all development, including improvement in road connectivity of Kashmir valley. (agencies)