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Srinagar-Jammu highway closed for maintenance

The 270-km-long Srinagar-Jammu national highway was closed on Friday for weekly maintenance of the road, the only all weather road connecting Kashmir valley with the rest of the country.

Meanwhile, Minister of State (MoS) in Prime Minister office Dr Jintendra Singh said work on 8.5-km-long Banihal-Qazigund tunnel is nearing completion and will soon be dedicated to the people.

All other roads leading to valley, including 434-km-long Srinagar-Leh national highway, historic 86-km-long Mughal road and Anantnag-Kishtwar, remained closed due to accumulation of snow .

No traffic was allowed from Srinagar or Jammu this morning to allow National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) to undertake necessary maintenance and repair work on the road, a traffic police official told said.

He said local traffic between Banihal and Ramban will also remained off the roads due to maintenance. However, emergency vehicles will be allowed to move after proper verification, he said. Security forces have also been directed not to ply on the highway today.

Earlier, it was decided that during February the highway will be closed on Thursday instead of Friday. However, now vehicles will remain off the road on Friday in February, he said.

Only one-way traffic is allowed on the highway in view of the traffic congestion on the highway and narrowness of Bailey bridge which was constructed by the Border Roads Organisation (BRO) after concrete bridge at Kela Morh was damaged when a portion of retaining wall collapsed on January 10. However, despite announcement by NHAI to open the bridge for traffic on January 29, it still remain closed.

Meanwhile, Minister of State (MoS) in Prime Minister office Dr Jintendra Singh said work on 8.5-km-long Banihal-Qazigund tunnel is nearing completion and will soon be dedicated to the people.

Meanwhile, Minister of State (MoS) in Prime Minister office Dr Jintendra Singh said work on 8.5-km-long Banihal-Qazigund tunnel is nearing completion and will soon be dedicated to the people.

Taking to micro-blogging site Twitter Mr Singh said “Work nearing completion! #Banihal-Qazigund Tunnel of 8.5 km at an elevation of 1,790 mtr is the only 4 lane twin tube tunnel in #JammuAndKashmir soon to be dedicated to the people”.

Officials said that Divisional Commissioner, Jammu, Sanjeev Verma also reviewed the progress of 4-laning work on Nashri to Banihal stretch of Jammu- Srinagar National Highway at a video conference meeting with concerned officers on Thursday.

The meeting was attended by senior Officers of NHAI and other concerned, while Deputy Commissioner Ramban along with concerned officers attended the meeting through video conferencing.

The Divisional Commissioner took detailed review of the progress on land acquisition pertaining to Nashri to Banihal stretch.

The Deputy Commissioner Ramban apprised the Mr Verma about the progress on each case and informed that most of the land acquisition cases have been resolved, while other pending cases are also at different stages.

Mr Verma sought details of land acquisition, structure removal, disbursement of compensation to land owners and shifting of electric towers.

He asked the DC Ramban to follow and complete the pending land acquisition cases, structure removal for smooth execution of work on the vital road project.

The concerned officers apprised Mr Verma that the work on shifting of electric towers has almost been completed.

Mr Verma asked the concerned officers to resolve bottlenecks which are hampering the work progress. He also directed the NHAI to expedite the pace of work on the stretches where land acquisition has been completed for timely completion of road project.

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