Srinagar: The Srinagar-Leh national highway was on Thursday reopened for traffic after remaining closed for five months due to heavy snowfall.
It was closed for traffic in January this year following heavy snowfall in Sonamarg, Zojila Pass, Zero point and Meenmarg areas of the road.
Snow clearance operation along the road had got delayed due to fresh snowfall in March and April.
“The Srinagar-Leh national highway was thrown open for traffic today (Thursday). Only light motor vehicles will be allowed to ply on the highway on trial basis for the time being,” a Border Roads Organization (BRO) official told IANS.
The 434-km long strategic highway is the only surface link of the Ladakh region with the rest of the state.
BRO authorities managing the highway had launched snow clearance operation from Drass (on Ladakh side) and Sonamarg (on valley side) simultaneously, officials said.
Srinagar-Leh road acts as lifeline of Kargil district in Ladakh region which remains snowbound for most of the time due to accumulation of snow on Zojila pass that connects the area with the Kashmir Valley.
The central government has already approved a tunnel at Zojila to make the highway an all-weather road so that Ladakh region remains connected with Kashmir throughout the year.
The road is only one of the two highways that connect Ladakh with rest of the country, the other being Leh-Manali Highway.