As winter sets in and Kashmir witnesses heavy snowfall, the state government on Saturday came up with a novel idea to regulate traffic on major highways ---- a huge LCD screen with status on whether the Srinagar-Jammu National Highway is open or not was installed at Tourist Reception Centre, from where vehicles move out from Srinagar towards Jammu and Leh.
The five by four foot LCD screen, a joint project of Beacon and the Jammu and Kashmir tourism department, was inaugurated by Kashmir divisional commissioner Asgar Samoon.
“The LCD screen attached to an internet protocol address, will update status of the Srinagar-Jammu national highway that connects the valley with the rest of the country. During snowfalls, vehicles leave for Jammu without confirming if the road is open or not. This much-needed LCD screen will help travelers to plan safe journeys,” divisional commissioner’s office’s spokesman Amir Ali told the Hindustan Times.
The status will be updated on an hourly basis as it keeps changing, depending on snowfall and Beacon’s efforts to restore the highway in case of landslides and other closures. The screen will also flash whether the highway is one-sided or two sided because due to snowfall many a times only one tube is made functional for traffic between Srinagar and Jammu.
“Earlier, travelers without knowing weather warnings or status of the highway would embark on a trip and get stuck half way. This LCD will help in regulating traffic when the highway is closed,” said Ali, adding “the status of roads like Gurez, Kargil and Bandipora areas will also be flashed soon”.
The department is in the process of roping in the Srinagar-based meteorological office to also update weather and forecast on the same screen. “From quite a distance, a person can get updated about highway status and weather conditions once it’s fully operational,” said Ali.
The Tourist Reception Centre is a hub of tourists with taxis and buses originating from the area to several regions of the state, including Jammu that connects Kashmir valley with the rest of the country.
Kashmir valley witnessed severe traffic hauls on the highway during winters with commuters getting stuck in snow. Hundreds of travelers have perished due to landslides and accidents on the highway during winters.