After remaining closed for over five months, the Leh-Sarchu-Manali highway was Wednesday reopened.
The road serves as an important link for the people of Himachal Pradesh and Ladakh.
Road Leh-Sarchu-Manali is considered to be a lifeline for the people of Ladakh region, ensuring the supplies of basic commodities and at the same time providing for means to stock the supplies for the winter season when this region remains cut off from rest of the country.
Furthermore, due to disturbances in the Valley, most of the civil as well as army convoy use this route during the limited summer season.
The 474 km long highway was thrown open for traffic by Lt Gen PJS Pannu, AVSM, VSM GOC 14 Corps, who inaugurated the opening of this vital road link during a solemn function, organized at Sarchu and exhorted the efforts of tenacious teams of Projects Himank and Deepak.
Project Chief Engineer, Brig DM Purvimath, VSM along-with other dignitaries were also present on the occasion.
The opening ceremony commenced with the ribbon cutting and flagging off the army convoy and civil traffic by the General Officer.
Speaking on the occasion, GOC appreciated the efforts put in by the GREF persons in the inhospitable high altitude area under adverse climatic conditions in opening the road axis within given time frame.
This road passes through some of the highest passes of the world with heights ranging up to 17500 feet and snow cover of up to 25 feet at certain places.
BRO undertakes the task of snow clearance on this axis with Project Deepak connecting Manali to Sarchu and Project Himank connecting Sarchu to Leh.
111 RCC of 16 BRTF, as part of Project Himank is responsible for maintenance of 252 km of road and clearance of three passes including Tanglang La (at 17582 feet) second highest pass in the world, Lachung La (16882 feet) and Nakki La (16169 feet).
A total of 4 lakh cubic meters of snow was cleared and alternate routes were cut at km 145 and km 146 to avoid sinking portions due to heavy accumulation of snow before declaring the road open for all kinds of traffic till Sarchu.
Though the road has been opened for traffic, however due to heavy snowfall and protracted road closure there are certain stretches of road which need to be addressed in coming months to make the riding surface smoother.
The remaining stretch of 222 kms from Sarchu to Manali under Project Deepak is maintained by 70 RCC of 38 BRTF and it crosses the Barlach La (16047 feet) and Rohtang pass (13044 feet).
All these passes on this road attract heaviest snowfall during the winter months and as such remain closed for almost five to six months ever year.