Banihal/Jammu- The 270-km Jammu-Srinagar National Highway remained closed for the third consecutive day on Monday with agencies making efforts to ensure early restoration of the only all-weather road linking Kashmir with the rest of the country, officials said.
The highway was closed for vehicular traffic on Saturday following incessant rains that triggered multiple landslides and also severely damaged a portion of the road near Panthiyal Tunnel and Chamba-Seeri in Ramban district, leaving thousands of vehicles stranded.
“Barring the Chamba-Seeri stretch where a 60-metre strip of road was washed away, the highway is almost clear of all hurdles and is traffic-worthy,” a traffic department official said.
He said the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) is working round-the-clock at Chamba-Seeri and is working on an alternate alignment to ensure early restoration of the road.
“The restoration work will take some time. The stranded vehicles will be cleared on priority once the road is made motorable,” the official said.
However, no fresh traffic will be allowed either from Jammu or Srinagar till the clearance of the stranded vehicles, he added.
A police spokesperson advised people to avoid travelling on the highway till the time confirmation is issued by the administration.
“Incessant rains, over the last few days, in various parts of Jammu and Kashmir, have caused unprecedented damage to NH-44, especially the stretch in Ramban district, forcing its closure for traffic,” the spokesperson said.
He said drivers of heavy motor vehicles are advised to take Mughal Road for the journey from Jammu to Srinagar and vice-versa.
“The administration is making its best possible efforts to ensure the restoration of traffic on the national highway at the earliest,” the spokesperson said.
According to traffic officials, the Mughal Road — an alternate link connecting the twin border districts of Poonch and Rajouri in Jammu with the south Kashmir Shopian district — was through for both-way traffic.
Mughal Road was also hit by several landslides on Saturday and Sunday following heavy rains but the road was cleared by the concerned agencies, providing relief to the commuters.
The traffic was moving smoothly on Mughal road when the last reports were received, officials said.
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