SRINAGAR : The 270-km-long Srinagar-Jammu national highway, the only all weather road connecting Kashmir valley with the rest of the country was closed on Friday for weekly maintenance and necessary repair, a traffic police official said.
Meanwhile, National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) has said that work on three sections of the Srinagar-Jammu national highway– Udhampur-Ramban, Ramban-Banihal, and Banihal- Qazigund including double tube Navayuga tunnel are in full swing and progressing smoothly.
No traffic was allowed on the highway which connects the valley with rest of the country on Friday to allow the NHAI to carry out necessary maintenance and repair work, traffic official said.
Only one-way traffic was being allowed on the highway for smooth flow of vehicles. However, despite taking all measures, traffic jam for hours has become almost daily routine on the highway.
Traffic police official said that only one-way traffic was being allowed in view of traffic congestion on the highway and narrowness of bailey bridge at Kela morh, where main concrete bridge was damaged after a retaining wall collapsed on January 10 evening.
The baily bridge was installed by Border Roads Organisation (BRO) after National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) said it will take about two weeks to repair the damage.
Now the NHAI has announced to conduct trail of the bridge today before allowing traffic. The government had announced to allow weekly maintenance of the highway on every Friday, when traffic remained suspended for the past two months.
Meanwhile, the historic 86-km-long Mughal road, connecting Poonch and Rajouri in Jammu region with Shopian in south Kashmir and Anantnag-Sampthan-Kishtwar road remained closed since last week of December last year due to accumulation of snow and slippery conditions.
The national highway, the only road linking Union Territory (UT) of Ladakh with Kashmir, has been closed since January Ist for winter months, he said. An official spokesman said that Chief Secretary, B V R Subrahmanyam chaired a review meeting to take stock of work progress on various sections of the highway at Jammu on Thursday.
During the meeting, it was informed that works on the 3 sections of the National Highway-44 namely Udhampur-Ramban, Ramban-Banihal, and Banihal- Qazigund including double tube Navayuga tunnel are in full swing and progressing smoothly.
On Udhampur-Ramban section, it was informed that 70 per cent of physical work on the project has been completed, and the remaining work will be completed by September 2021.
Similarly, the work on the 8.4 km Navayuga Tunnel which will connect Banihal directly to Qazigund is nearing completion and the tunnel is expected to be inaugurated in the month of March 2021.
While reviewing the progress on Ramban-Banihal section of the highway, it was informed that majority of the issues regarding land acquisition and utility shifting have been resolved and the work is progressing smoothly.
The Deputy Commissioner, Ramban was directed to handover the possession of remaining land to the executing agency by February 28, 2021 and provide active support towards timely completion of the project.
Once completed, the project will reduce the travel time between Jammu and Srinagar, besides, providing secure connectivity between the two provinces of Jammu and Kashmir.