Ladakh Road Essay

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Ladakh generally remains cut-off from the rest of Indian mainland during winters as these roads gets closed after the start of the winter snow in November/December and open in end May or June depending on the weather forecast. The Border Roads Organization (BRO) is responsible for operation and maintenance of these highways. Earlier, these routes used to be closed officially after October 31. However, an account of post winter opening of Leh-Ladakh Road via Rohtang pass in last five years indicate considerable change in snow fall pattern. For Manali-Srinagar-Leh axis, there are indications over last 5 years of the snow season starting late in December and continuing till end May. However, in the last winter, secondary information shows…show more content…
The snow accumulation at Zojila pass is generally about 40-60 feet. Some of the captions below provide an account of snow in these regions. In 2017, BRO provided an annual snow clearance grant of INR 70 per cum for 2 lane roads in altitudes above 2400m. Considering that both these routes fall in these altitudes, and assuming on average 5 m of snow cover on two 2-lane roads (7 m wide). The cost of snow clearance operations combined for these two routes (474 km + 424 km) is around INR 2,200 Mn, besides there are additional grants for air support provided to ground staff for airlifting persons, supplying fuel and spare parts and other things by helicopter. High altitude roads in heavy snowfall areas experience a major drainage problem during spring thaw. The snow melt water flows with tremendous velocity over the pavement, causing its erosion covered on either side by snow accumulated on berms during snow clearance operations. The water released by thawing collects in the centre of the pavement and the road itself acts as a drain. At times, this running snow melt water freezes on the pavement and causes skidding. Thaw water penetrates through the potholes and crevices in the pavement. When subsequent freezing occurs, this thaw also freezes and expands causing damage to the pavement. This alternative cycle of road thawing and freezing is one of the major causes of damage to the pavement in snow bound areas. BRO
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