Chandigarh, March 25
The strategically important Leh-Manali Highway (NH-3) was opened for vehicular traffic by the Border Roads Organisation (BRO) on Saturday in record 138 days.
The highway, which lies across high-altitude areas in the Himalayas, remains closed for several months during peak winters due to heavy snow
Last year, it took 144 days for the BRO to open the highway for traffic.
The 427-km long highway, connecting Ladakh to the rest of India via Manali in Himachal Pradesh, has strategic importance for the movement of the Armed Forces and their supplies to forward areas in Ladakh, as well as connecting the people of Ladakh to India.
The highway is an alternate to the 422-km long Srinagar-Kargil-Leh Highway (NH-1D) which was reopened by on March 16. The BRO also opened the vital Shinkula Pass, located at an altitude of 16,580 feet on the Nimmu-Padum-Darch Road, on March 23 in a record 55 days.
The Leh-Manali Highway generally remains closed from November-end with the onset of winter till it is opened in March-April.
The entire 427-km road has been cleared of snow by BRO’s Project Himank in Ladakh and Project Deepak in Himachal Pradesh.
The challenging operations commenced from two extremities of the road by two different teams comprising skilled manpower and state-of-the-art machines. As the two snow-clearance teams converged at a common point in Sarchu on the Ladakh-Himachal Pradesh border, a ‘Golden Handshake’ ceremony was organised there to declare the highway open.
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