The 434-km-long strategic Srinagar-Leh highway, connecting the Ladakh region with the Kashmir valley, has been officially closed for winter months to avoid any accidents following fresh snowfall and slippery road conditions due to below freezing temperatures.
Official sources said that the highway has been closed for winter months after the areas along the highway including Sonamarg, Drass and Zojila Pass experienced heavy snowfall.
The highway, which usually remains closed from 1st week of December for about four to five months every year, had remained open for a longer period this time around because of the dry weather, officials said.
They said that Divisional Commissioner Kashmir, Baseer Ahmed Khan had earlier asked the Beacon authorities to review the road conditions after which the decision to close the road from January 04 was taken.
In an official communique in this regard, Divisional Commissioner Kashmir, had informed that Sonamarg–Gumri (Zojila pass) shall remain closed for vehicular traffic of all types from January 04, 2017 till further notice.
"In view of snowfall on higher reaches, extreme cold temperature and slippery road surface on 10 Km on either side of Zojila pass road, Srinagar-Sonamarg-Gumri as intimated by the chief engineer Beacon, it is hereby notified for information that the road Sonamarg-Gumri (Zojila Pass) shall remain closed for vehicular traffic of all types w.e.f 04-01-2017, till further notice," reads the order by the Divisional Commissioner Kashmir.
SSP Traffic Rural, Fayaz Ahmed told Greater Kashmir that the road has been officially closed for all types of vehicular moment on the directions of Div Com Kashmir.