Opening The Roads To Leh , 2013

Srinagar-Leh will open tomorrow , according to The Tribune.  This may  actually happen, since the BRO road crew was a few klicks from the Zoji  La pass a week ago. There is still a conspicuous  lack of details though. Weather forecast says says rain five out of six coming days in Srinagar , thinning out towards to Kargil and Leh , night temperature just under zero , so more snow is definitely possible . 

No mentions of the the earlier bold BRO claim that the road would be thrown open  on March 31 – but still good chances of  this becoming the earliest opening of the road in more than a decade , the former record was April 15th in 2008 . That turned out mildly chaotic


The timeline for clearing the roads to Leh : 


Srinagar-Leh : first the road will be cleared up to Sonmarg ( this year March 16th  ) , then the Zoji La will be almost cleared and the first loads of fresh supplies will come in to Leh …with donkeys ( last days in March , this year ) .A few cabs will get in before the road is officially thrown open. Lastly the roadmarker at  the LAHDC  site will show open when the road is deemed fit for all vehicles , i.e. busworthy. 


Manali-Leh : first there will be rumors , like this years classic when some Indian media claimed that the whole road would be cleared by April 15th. Clearing the road starts in March , with three BRO groups working at the same time : two crews working from south ( Manali ) and north ( Koksar ) end towards the Rohtang La , and the third crew working going past Darcha towards Baralacha La and the 5000+ passes beyond that . Once the Rohtang has been cleared ( BRO´s goal at present : mid-April ) all groups will unite  in the push towards Leh. There may or may not be a period ( like in 2011) when the road is declared officially open , but not for buses : ” Open For LMV” , i.e. Light Motor Vehicles , including minibuses. Last of all the Rohtang will open for the daytrippers from Manali. This year the plan is introduce one way traffic , up only in the morning hours , down in the afternoon. 


Srinagar-Leh and Manali-Leh are military priorities , and get a lot of resources. The NH 22 route , Shimla-Spiti over the Kunzum La will open later than Manali-Leh , and the road over Saach Pass even later.