Ramban, Feb 11: After the improvement in weather and road clearance, the Srinagar-Jammu National Highway reopened for stranded vehicles between Udhampur and Qazigund on Saturday. Traffic authorities said that after road clearance at Panthyal, Magarkote Mehar Cafeteria in Ramban district, stranded vehicles were being cleared on the highway since Saturday afternoon.
They said that the restoration work remained in full swing for the entire Friday night and the stones, mud, and landslide were cleared from the road at Mehar, Cafeteria, Panthyal, and a few other places.
Traffic authorities said that all the stranded vehicles between Nashri and Banihal were cleared till late evening.
Officials said that the highway got blocked following rains on Thursday evening after huge landslides and shooting stones triggered on the highway at Panthyal near Ramsu and Mehar Cafeteria stretch and at other places in Ramban district.
They said that it took more than 42 hours for the men and machinery of the contractor companies engaged by the National Highway Authority of India to clear the landslides and accumulated stones from the highway.
Officials said that after clearing the landslide Saturday afternoon, vehicular traffic resumed on the highway and hundreds of stranded passenger vehicles including oil and LPG tankers and load carriers carrying food grains for Kashmir crossed landslides and shooting stone-prone stretches of Nashri and Banihal in a regulated manner.
They said that only the stranded vehicles between Jammu and Srinagar were allowed to ply.
The officials said that landslides and rolling stones had damaged a temporary steel tunnel erected for safeguarding the life and property of the people from shooting stones at Panthyal, once again suffering extensive damages.
SSP Traffic Police, Mohita Sharma told Greater Kashmir that after road clearance, stranded vehicles were allowed to move to their respective destinations.
She said that the priority was given to passenger Light Motor Vehicles (LMVs). However, vehicles were being cleared with utmost caution at Panthyal.
Due to the blockade of the highway, hundreds of vehicles – both trucks and passenger vehicles - remained stuck at various locations on the highway for two consecutive nights on Thursday and Friday.
The vehicular traffic was reportedly disrupted occasionally due to landslides and shooting stones at Panthyal and on the Mehar-Cafeteria stretch of the highway in Ramban district.
It also created a hindrance in the smooth inflow of traffic on both sides of the highway.
However, Deputy Commissioner (DC) RambanMussarat Islam told Greater Kashmir that he was hopeful that the vital road tunnel (T-5) on the highway to bypass the Panthyal slide would be operational by mid-March 2023.
The work on the Mehar-Cafeteria tunnel is also in progress.