The 270-kilometer Srinagar-Jammu National Highway will remain closed for traffic on Monday as authorities have decided to carry out day-long maintenance works on this arterial road.
A senior Traffic Police official told Greater Kashmir that vehicles will not be allowed to move on the highway from either side during the entire day.
“The recent landslides have damaged the road which needs maintenance on a large stretch,” said the official. Meanwhile, massive traffic jams were witnessed on the highway on Sunday.
Superintendent of Police, Traffic (Rural) Muzaffar Ahmad Shah told Greater Kashmir that the traffic jam was caused after an apple-laden truck met with an accident near Banihal. “The entire truckload of apple had to be unloaded which took some time. The traffic was finally restored at 3 pm,” said Shah.
Travelers said they were stuck in the traffic jam for hours causing huge inconvenience to them in the December cold.
Muzaffar Ahmad Bhat, a resident of Srinagar who was travelling to Jammu on Sunday, said he was stuck in the traffic jam for the entire day.
“I left my home in Srinagar at 7 am and have just managed to cross the Banihal Tunnel at 6 PM. I am travelling with my three children who suffered badly due to this traffic mess,” Bhat told Greater Kashmir.
Inclement weather has forced the closure of the highway for 13 days in the last month, causing huge inconvenience to travelers and affecting supplies to the Valley. Multiple landslides have been causing closure of the highway, which has also resulted in increased airfares from Srinagar to various destinations.
The Srinagar-Leh National Highway and Mughal Road remained closed for traffic.
A traffic department official said efforts were on to restore the 434-km Srinagar-Leh National highway — the strategic road linking Ladakh with Kashmir — and Mughal road which connects the border districts of Poonch and Rajouri in Jammu region with south Kashmir’s Shopian district.
While the Srinagar-Leh Highway was closed for traffic on 27 November following heavy snowfall in Zojilla pass and adjoining areas, the Mughal road was closed on 6 November after high altitude areas including Pir Ki Gali along the road experienced heavy snowfall.
“The Mughal road was cleared of the accumulated snow after several weeks of hectic efforts on 26 November but a fresh spell of snowfall hampered the efforts of its early reopening,” the official said, adding men and machines are on the job to clear the road of the snow.
Both the roads usually remain closed for winter months owing to heavy snowfall.