Srinagar: The 434-km-long Srinagar-Leh national highway, the only road linking Ladakh region with Kashmir, was closed on Wednesday due to fresh snowfall since early this morning and slipper road conditions, a traffic police official said here.
However, the Srinagar-Jammu national highway and historic Mughal road are through for traffic with some restrictions on traffic movement.
We have suspended traffic movement on Srinagar-Leh national highway due to slippery road conditions following three to six inches of fresh snowfall at different places, including Zojila pass and Meenmarg, traffic police official told UNI. The road is slippery so no vehicle was allowed from either side of Zojila, he added.
We are motoring the road condition, he said adding traffic will be resumed only after receiving green signal from the officials posted at different places on the highway.
He said Kashmir bound traffic is being allowed from Drass, Kargil early in the morning for Sonmarg in central Kashmir. Similarly traffic from here to other side of the Zojila is allowed in the afternoon.
The 300-km-long Srinagar-Jammu national highway, the only all weather road was through for traffic, he said. Today Heavy Motor Vehicle (HMV) traffic was allowed from Srinagar to Jammu only. No HMV will be allowed from opposite direction, he said adding similarly Light Motor Vehicle (LMV) traffic will ply from Jammu to Srinagar.
Meanwhile, concerned over frequent road accidents and blockades at various stretches and also keeping in view the current fruit season, winter supplies and movement of general public during the ensuing durbar move a high level meeting was recently held.
The deliberations during the meeting primarily focused on identifying the causes/core areas leading to prolonged traffic congestion along the Srinagar-Jammu National Highway in particular between the Banihal-Ramban-Udhampur stretches and evolving a composite action plan to not only ensure hassle free traffic flow along the National Highway but also to secure optimum coordination and synergy among various departments/construction agencies to respond on a real time basis in the event of breakdown of vehicles, landslides and accidents.
Advisors and Chief Secretary emphasized that given the socio-economic importance of the National Highway in the movement of fruit laden trucks, winter supplies to Kashmir Valley besides meeting the logistic requirements of security forces, police and general public, all concerned departments/agencies should redouble their efforts to ensure that it remains open for smooth flow of traffic.
The primary causes of traffic congestion were identified during the meeting and a composite action plan finalized for implementation by the concerned departments/agencies. It was decided in the meeting that steps would be taken immediately to resolve all Traffic related issues of the NH to prevent congestion on the road and inconvenience to travelers in future.
In order to prevent congestion arising out of vehicle breakdown, Inspector General (IG) Traffic will prepare a traffic management plan with adequate recovery vehicles positioned at frequent intervals with adequate connectivity. As far as landslides are concerned, the IG Traffic, J&K will ensure that landslide clearing teams are placed at pre-identified location prone to frequent landslides. Additional equipment will be provided to IG Traffic, J&K for this purpose. In order to manage traffic congestion, holding areas will be identified on the Kashmir and Jammu sides so that vehicles are held their rather than on the road itself.
On the health front, 10 new trauma centre and 100 ambulances will be operationalized at the earliest to handle emergency. To improve the quality of the vehicles on the road, police and transport department will ensure enforcement of all Motor Vehicle Rules to check offenses and also ensure fitness of vehicles. All police stations on the highway will be accountable for this and CCTV arrangements will be installed for this purpose.
Divisional Commissioner, Jammu and Divisional Commissioner, Kashmir were directed to launch a special drive for removal of encroachments while exploring suitable options for creating way side amenities along the National Highway for convenience of the commuters.
Divisional Commissioner, Kashmir was also asked to hold a meeting with the Chief Engineer R&B, Kashmir for addressing the issues on the 5-6 km stretch of Mughal road so that traffic can move on it without any encumbrances and for its use as an alternate road to the Srinagar-Jammu National Highway.