Zojila, Jan 6: The strategic Srinagar-Leh National Highway connecting Jammu and Kashmir with Ladakh is to be officially closed for vehicular movement from Saturday, Border Roads Organisation (BRO) officials said Friday.
They said that the Zojila Pass on the Srinagar-Leh National Highway is to be closed for traffic in view of the inclement weather forecast from Saturday that would make the road unfavourable for traffic movement.
Chief Engineer BRO (Project Beacon) Brig Saket Singh along with senior officials of the BRO, civil administration and Police visited the Zojila Pass on Friday to assess the condition of the highway.
Talking to reporters, he said that during last few years the efforts of the BRO which include Project Beacon and Project Vijayak had been to keep the Zojila Pass open for maximum duration and this year it had been kept open till January 6 despite the challenges.
Singh said that in view of the inclement weather forecast for a prolonged period of time and snowfall from January 7, the Zojila Pass was to be closed for traffic movement for winter months.
He said that the snow clearance work would continue when the weather permits adding that snow clearance work on the Sonamarg road would continue to keep the tourist destination open during winter for the visitors.
The Zojila Pass is located at 11,643 feet and serves as the lifeline between the Kashmir and Ladakh.
Last year, Zojila Pass was kept open till January 3.
“This year, once again, due to the concerted efforts of Project Beacon and Project Vijayak, the Zojila Pass was kept open for the first-time ever till January 6,” Singh said.
Meanwhile, Senior Superintendent of Police Traffic (Rural) Manzoor Ahmad told Greater Kashmir that the BRO had recommended that Srinagar-Leh highway should be closed for traffic movement in view of the weather forecast.
He said that official orders had to be issued from the Divisional Commissioner Kashmir’s office, which was expected in a day or two.
Ahmad said that the snowfall makes the road slippery and there were apprehensions about snow avalanches that make it unfavourable for travel.