The strategic 434-Km long Srinagar-Leh National highway will be thrown open for vehicular traffic on Monday after five months closure owing to heavy snowfall, Border Road Organisation (BRO) said.

“The snow clearance operation on the highway -- only road linking frontier region of Ladakh with rest of Jammu and Kashmir -- has been completed and the road will be thrown open for vehicular traffic on May 2,” a senior officer of the BRO said.

The Srinagar-Leh highway was closed for vehicular traffic on November 26 last year for winter after the high altitude areas of the Valley including Zojila pass experienced heavy snowfall.

The highway passes through the 11,578 foot high Zojila Pass which lies on the lower depressions of the Himalayan ranges and attracts the heaviest snowfall during the winter season resulting in closure of the arterial road for six to seven months annually.

Accumulation of huge quantities of snow over the Zojila pass, 107 Kms from here, presents the biggest hurdle to traffic on this road, the official said.

He said the snow clearance operation started in the beginning of March and tonnes of snow was removed by the personnel of Beacon project, with the help of modern machines, braving the hazards of high altitude, severe cold and rolling avalanches.

Although the road connecting the Ladakh region to rest of the state was to be opened on April 27, it was delayed due to heavy rains in Sonamarg plains and snowfall in higher reaches.

The road clearance was completed on April 29 and light vehicles of Army carried out a test drive to check the safety of the road for civilian traffic on Saturday.