Srinagar Leh Highway

Srinagar Leh Highway 2024 – 2025: Current Status and Updates

Srinagar Leh Highway: Current Status and Updates 2024 – 2025

As of April 18, 2024, the Srinagar Leh Highway (NH01) has been reopened for traffic after a four-day closure caused by avalanches and landslides at Zojila Pass. The closure prompted protests from taxi and auto drivers against the administration for the extended shutdown since the previous Sunday.

The closure resulted from adverse weather conditions, including rainfall and snowfall in the region since the previous Sunday. These conditions made the Zojila Pass impassable due to ongoing avalanches and landslides at certain points along the pass.

Despite the challenging conditions, this year has seen remarkably low snowfall in the Himalayas. Minimal snowfall during November 2023, December 2023, and January 2024 has allowed for the accessibility of the Zojila Pass for light vehicles. Currently, only light vehicles are permitted on the Srinagar-Leh Highway, with the Jammu and Kashmir Traffic Police stressing safety precautions for travelers navigating the icy conditions of the pass. Although temperatures remain well below freezing, there is no significant snow accumulation, though the pass remains slippery, requiring caution for those embarking on early-season journeys.

The question arises: Will the Ladakh season open late due to delayed snowfall in 2024? Or will it be a record-breaking year with year-long connectivity between Ladakh and Srinagar via the Srinagar Leh Highway?

Historical Status of Srinagar Leh Highway
Last year, by March 16, 2023, the Border Roads Organization (BRO) had remarkably opened the Srinagar Leh Highway in just 68 days. Typically, the highway remains closed for 4-5 months during the winter due to heavy snowfall. However, in 2024, the highway has remained open even through the end of January due to limited snowfall.

In the previous winter season, the Srinagar to Leh road closed on January 6, 2023, and BRO efficiently reopened it within 68 days. In 2022, the Srinagar Leh Highway opened on March 20, breaking the previous year’s record. This year, the lack of significant snowfall has aided BRO in maintaining accessibility through the winter. If the trend continues, it could set a new record for year-long connectivity between Leh and Srinagar.

However, despite the current open status, only essential goods vehicles and army vehicles are permitted until the road stabilizes for general public or tourist travel.

Srinagar Leh Highway Opening Expectations for 2024
As of April 2024, the Srinagar Leh Highway remains open, thanks to minimal snowfall. Last year in 2023, BRO began snow clearance operations in January to reopen the highway by early March, supporting local communities and tourists.

BRO’s efforts to clear snow accumulated in 2023, with reports indicating up to 6 feet of snow on the Sonamarg to Baltal road and 12 feet at Zojila Pass, were commendable. Cutting through such massive snowbanks in treacherous terrain is no easy feat.

Looking ahead, BRO aims to open the Srinagar Leh Highway in 2024 at a record pace if snowfall remains minimal. However, weather conditions in the coming months will ultimately determine the outcome.

Timing of Srinagar Leh Highway Opening
In recent years, the Srinagar Leh Highway typically opens by the first week of April or end of March. However, this year’s early opening in January due to minimal snowfall is unprecedented. Yet, weather conditions in March and April, including potential snowfall, will influence the highway’s accessibility.

Travel Considerations for Srinagar Leh Highway
When planning a road trip to Leh Ladakh via the Srinagar Leh Highway, it’s essential to understand that road stabilization takes time after opening. Initial days may see frequent roadblocks due to snow slides and loose gravel, particularly around Zojila Pass. Additionally, one-way traffic and time restrictions are common until the road widens and stabilizes.

Therefore, it’s advisable to wait a couple of weeks after the highway officially opens before embarking on your journey. Rushing to Ladakh immediately after the highway opens increases the risk of getting stranded due to unstable road conditions.

Update as of April 18, 2024:

The Srinagar Leh Highway (NH01) has reopened for traffic after being closed for four consecutive days due to avalanches and landslides at Zojila Pass. However, on Wednesday, taxi and auto drivers protested against the administration for the prolonged closure of the highway since the previous Sunday.

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