Srinagar, Jan 11: The national highway, the only all-weather road linking the Kashmir valley with the rest of the country, was closed on Friday morning due to fresh snowfall since Thursday night.
The Ladakh highway and historic Mughal road also remained closed for the past over a month due to accumulation of several feet snow which has now frozen.
Traffic on the 300-km-long Srinagar-Jammu national highway was closed due to about ten inches of fresh snowfall on both sides of the Jawahar tunnel, Banihal and ShaitanNallah, a traffic police official said Friday morning.
He said the Border Roads Organisation (BRO), responsible for the maintenance of the highway has already put into service sophisticated machines and men to clear the snow.
However, due to continued snowfall, the snow clearance operation hampered.
About 500 Kashmir bound vehicles, mostly trucks and oil tankers, which were stopped at Ramban, Ramsu, Chanderkote and other places will be cleared before allowing fresh traffic on the highway.
Due to slippery road conditions, these vehicles were stopped to avoid any accident, he said.
Once the road is put through and all stranded vehicles cleared, fresh traffic will be allowed from Kashmir to Jammu on Friday.
No fresh vehicles, including security force convoy, would be allowed from Jammu, he said. Meanwhile, reports received from Ramban and other places said large number of Kashmir bound passenger vehicles are also stranded on the highway.
A number of passengers said over phone that they had to stay in vehicles during the night in the absence of any accommodation. Even children and women could not get any food, they further alleged and demanded that authorities should stop vehicles at places where hotels and dhabas are available.
Large number of Jammu bound vehicles has also been stopped at Qazigund and other places on their side of the tunnel. Only one-way traffic is allowed on the highway for the past over a year to avoid traffic jam in view of road widening and frequent landslides.
Director Meteorological department (MeT), Sonum Lotus said that there is possibility of rains and snowfall for the next two days and the higher reaches of the Valley would experience light snowfall in the intervening night of Friday-Saturday.
Lotus said that the Valley would receive light snowfall on Saturday again while as the weather conditions would improve from January 13 (Sunday) afternoon.
He also said that the department is predicting an adequate snowfall in this month, saying that there is possibility of snowfall in between Jan 19-20 as well.
Notably, the Valley received a fresh snowfall in the intervening night of Thursday-Friday while it is the third snowfall in Kashmir from past 10 days.