After 14 hours of blockade following a massive landslide near Shoghi, 13 km from Shimla, the Chandigarh-Shimla national highway (NH) opened for traffic on Saturday.
Hundreds of commuters, including tourists, were caught in a massive traffic jam on the highway for more than 12 hours.
Shimla additional deputy commissioner (ADC) Yunus Khan said the highway was cleared. “The highway is now through for traffic. We diverted vehicles to alternative routes facilitate people,” he said.
Shimla deputy superintendent of police (traffic) Amit Thakur said: “The public works department had been deployed to clear the blockade. The boulders were broken by carrying out controlled blasts,” he said.
DAILY SUPPLIES HIT
With the road blocked, the supply of daily needs, including milk and bread, to Shimla was affected. Newspapers could not reach the state capital in time. Vehicles carrying these necessities were stranded after crossing Solan and reached Shimla later in the day via a bypass.
By 2pm, commuters were stuck in a traffic jam running up to 5 km on both sides of the landslide-hit area. This despite the administration and police routing traffic to Shimla from the Shoghi-Mehli bypass.
Several tourists returning from Shimla and trucks laden with apples were seen stranded.
LANDSLIDE EARLY IN MORNING
Local residents said that the landslide occurred early on Saturday morning when there was less traffic on the stretch else it could have caused casualties.
Ganesh, a truck driver stranded for three hours in the jam, said that he had to reach the fruit market in Hyderabad. “I am carrying apples from Narkanda to Hyderabad but officials here say the traffic will not be restored before this evening,” he said.
“We have been held up here for the past four hours. Had the traffic not been disrupted, we would have been in Chandigarh by now,” said Kritika, a tourist returning to Jaipur in Rajasthan.