Ramban: After the improvement in the weather, the Srinagar-Jammu National Highway reopened for two-way traffic of Light Motor Vehicles (LMVs) and one-way traffic of Heavy Motor Vehicles (HMVs) for Kashmir on Saturday.
The highway had closed due to snowfall on both sides of the Jawahar Tunnel, Banihal-Qaziqund tunnel including on Ramsu-Banihal sector, and due to shooting stones at Mehar, mud and landslides at Cafeteria, Panthyal and various other places between Chanderkote and Banihal stretch of the highway passing through Ramban district on Friday morning.
However, after slight improvement in the weather on Friday noon, the concerned agencies cleared the accumulated snow, landslides, and stones by pressing their men and machinery into service and made the highway traffic worthy.
After remaining open for a brief period, a fresh spell of snow on the Nowgam-Banihal and heavy rain on the Nashri-Banihal stretch on Friday evening again forced the authorities to suspend the traffic movement on the highway.
Traffic authorities said that snow in Nowgam and Banihal and heavy rains on the Nashri-Banihal stretch on Friday night triggered mud and landslides including shooting stones at several places.
Due to the blockade of the road since Friday morning, hundreds of vehicles remained stranded on the highway at Dhar Road, Jakhani Udhampur, Qazigund, Kashmir, and various other locations.
They said on Saturday morning after the improvement in weather, the concerned agencies again pressed their men and machinery into service for clearing accumulated snow from both sides of the road leading to Banihal-Qazigund tunnel and cleared the accumulated stones, mud, and landslides at various places between Chanderkote and Ramsu.
They said a temporary steel tunnel at Panthyal, which was damaged by the rolling stones was also repaired by the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI).
Superintendent of Traffic Police, National Highway, Ramban, Mohita Sharma said that the highway was reopened for traffic on Saturday.
She said that priority was given to LMVs following which HMVs were permitted to ply towards Kashmir.
Traffic officials monitoring the regulation of traffic on the highway in Ramban said scores of LMVs crossed the Nashri-Banihal stretch for their respective destinations in Kashmir and Jammu till Saturday evening.
They said HMVs carrying essential supplies were also allowed to move from Jakhani, Udhampur in the afternoon and crossed the Nashri-Banihal stretch in a regulated manner to heading towards their respective destinations in Kashmir.
Traffic authorities said that during the last 24 hours up to 5 pm on Saturday, the highway remained blocked for 14 hours and 55 minutes due to the accumulation of snow at Nowgam, Banihal, shooting stones at Mehar, a mudslide at Cafeteria Morh, Ramban and damage of temporarily steel tunnel at Panthyal near Ramsu.
Earlier, traffic authorities had said that during the past 24 hours up to 5 pm on Friday, the highway remained blocked for 9 hours and 50 minutes.
Meanwhile, Jammu and Kashmir Traffic Department issued a fresh advisory for Sunday stating that subject to fair weather and good road conditions, LMVs would be allowed to move on either side of the highway while HMVs stopped at Qazigund, Kashmir would be allowed to move towards Jammu after assessing the road and traffic situation.
People have been advised to undertake journeys on the highway only after confirming the status of roads from Traffic Control Unit (TCU) Srinagar, TCU Jammu, TCU Udhampur, and TCU Ramban on Sunday morning.