The Border Roads Organisation (BRO) opened the strategically important Leh-Manali highway (NH 3) on Saturday in a record time of 138 days.
The Leh-Manali highway generally remains closed from November end with the onset of winter till it is opened in March.
Officials said that last year, it took 144 days for the BRO to open the highway for traffic movement. It is a 427 km long strategic highway connecting Ladakh with the rest of India through Manali, having strategic importance for the movement of the armed forces and their supplies to the forward areas in Ladakh, as well as connecting the people of Ladakh with the rest of the country.
The highway is an alternate route to the 422 km long Srinagar-Kargil-Leh highway (NH-1D), which was opened by the BRO on March 16. BRO also opened the mighty Shinkula Pass located at 16,580 feet on Nimmu-Padum-Darch road in a record time of 55 days on March 23.
The entire 427 km Leh-Manali highway has been cleared of snow by the BRO frontline Project Himank in Ladakh and Project Deepak in Himachal Pradesh. These challenging operations commenced from two extremities of the road by two different teams comprising skilled manpower and state-of-the-art machines. As the two snow clearance teams converge at a common point in Sarchu, Himachal Pradesh, a 'Golden Handshake' ceremony is organised there to declare the highway open.