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World’s ‘first’ glaciated road coming up in Ladakh region of Kashmir

Srinagar, Nov 18: In a major feat, the Border Roads Organisation (BRO) is carving out and developing the world’s “first” glaciated motorable roads in Jammu and Kashmir’s Ladakh region at a height of around 18,000 feet.
The project comes under ‘Project Himank’ of the organisation.
A BRO spokesperson said one such road will be the world’s first ever motorable pavement that will pass through world’s highest glaciers in eastern Ladakh.
“Being constructed at an altitude of over 17800 feet road Sasoma to Saser La will be a vital link paved over glaciers which are unstable and frequently change their physical nature,” the spokesperson said.
According to the organisation, the construction of the road is special due to challenges posed by glaciers and presence of moraines in the area.
Besides adverse weather, biting cold, bone chilling winds, there is always lurking danger of crevasses and avalanches while the road is being constructed.
“Since the temperature dips to -50 C during winter and in the peak summers the temperature hovers around 12 C in the region, working in such extreme weather is a herculean task and glaciers which shift constantly as snow melts adds to the difficulty,” he said.
The organisation said as the working period is quite short and the Border Road officials make prior preparations and chalk out a working strategy to achieve its targets in the limited time available.
The short working period needs to be utilised to the maximum thus requiring effective management of manpower and resources to meet out the challenges, he said.
Planning of work starts four to five months prior to the start of the working season.
Project officials said that, meticulous planning and hard work of BRO officers and men has been extremely essential for successful completion of the tasks to achieve targets in a working season.
“There is little BRO personnel can do to stop an ice-wall or crevasse opening on what is essentially a moving block of ice, but due to commitment of jawans and strategic need, the Project carries forward the work despite the challenges,” said the spokesman.
Due to better equipment, resources, training and medical facilities which are in place for the BRO personnel working in the hostile high altitude areas the construction of such roads is possible, he said.