The 490-km Leh-Manali highway, which connects Ladakh with Himachal Pradesh, is expected to be reopened for traffic on May 18 as the Border Roads Organisation (BRO) has completed the snow clearance work on the strategic road, officials said on Friday.
Project Himank and Project Deepak of the BRO have cleared snow from 16,050 ft high Baralacha Pass and 17,480 ft high Tanglang La Pass, which are considered the most challenging stretches for snow clearing teams, they said.
Snow accumulation in these sectors was over 35 feet at some places and has an average height of 15 feet, the officials said.
BRO personnel of 111 RCC of 753 TF from Himank and 70 RCC of 38 TF from Deepak had a tough time clearing snow in these high altitude sectors. They braved odds like bone-chilling winds and threat of avalanches, they said.
According to the officials, due to the untiring efforts of BRO personnel, the highway will be reopened a month before it was thrown open for traffic last year, which is a great achievement considering the coronavirus outbreak in the country.
The snow clearing work on the strategic road continued with the workforce taking due precautions and safeguards, they said.
Ladakh, which remains cut off from the mainland for over five months in winters, has two primary access roads — the national highway from Srinagar over the 11,570 ft high Zoji La between Sonamarg and Kargil, and the Leh-Manali road.