Strategic Zoji La reopens for traffic in record 68 days : The Tribune India

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Strategic Zoji La reopens for traffic in record 68 days

Strategic Zoji La reopens  for traffic in record 68 days

Men and machines at work to clear the snow at Zoji La. ANI



Our Correspondent

Srinagar, March 16

The Border Roads Organisation (BRO) on Thursday reopened the Zoji La on the Srinagar-Kargil-Leh highway for vehicular traffic in record 68 days. The traffic on this road remains closed during winters due to heavy snow. Zoji La, at the height of 11,650 feet, provides a vital strategic link between Kashmir and Ladakh.

In the yesteryear, Zoji La used to normally close by October or November every year and reopen only by April-May, resulting in almost six-month closure time. “With the renewed focus on infrastructural development and augmentation of connectivity to the northern borders in the recent years, there has been a strategic requirement of minimising the closure time of Zoji La during winters,” the BRO stated.

The BRO ensured that the Zoji La was kept open for traffic till as late as January 6, creating a new historic precedence of its kind, thus allowing almost 13,500 vehicles to cross the pass between November and January 6, it stated.

“Finding a clear window of dry weather in the first week of February, snow-clearing teams were pushed into immediate action by Project Beacon and Project Vijayak from Sonamarg and Dras ends of Zoji La,” the BRO said. The initial connectivity across Zoji La was established on March 11.

“Improvement and widening of road surface has been carried out since then to facilitate safe passage of vehicles. Trial convoy of vehicles successfully passed through Zoji La today, thereby ensuring that the pass remained closed for only 68 days this year as compared to 73 days last year and 160-180 days in the yesteryear,” the BRO added.

Connectivity to the Gurez sector towards the western axis has also been restored with the opening of the Razdan pass after a gap of 58 days.

Other important passes at Sadhna, Pharkiyan Gali and Zamindar Gali have been kept open throughout the winter season, it added. BRO Director General Lt Gen Rajeev Chaudhry commended the personnel involved in achieving the feat.


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