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As Chandigarh-Shimla highway set to reopen today, locals resort to prayers | Chandigarh News

As the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) is all set to open the Chandigarh-Shimla highway for two lane light vehicle traffic by 12 noon on Tuesday, thousands of commuters, the tourism industry and traders on NH-05, are expecting a major relief.

Since August 2, after a major landslide hit this patch of the highway near Chakki Mor causing a deep gorge in that area, the highway was closed down for traffic, causing inconvenience to thousands of commuters on that route for the last six days. While the officials of the NHAI claim that the highway is ready to be opened on Tuesday, local sarpanch of the area offered prayers to their local gods to save Chakki Mor site from nature’s fury in the coming days.

“If all goes well, we are all set and confident that by tomorrow (Tuesday), the National highway will be ready to be opened for light vehicle traffic. Though it was ready today, some safety boards and sign boards had to be put up for which its opening was shifted to tomorrow. Tomorrow, we will again inspect the entire site and insure various safety issues and then open it for the light vehicle traffic first, including cars and pick up trucks carrying apples, essentials, service stuffs etc,” a NHAI Project Director Anil Dahiya told The Indian Express.

Dahiya added that after a few days the status will be observed and if all goes fine, the highway will then be opened for the heavy traffic.

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The NHAI director said that as the loose hill has been cut to create a D way for temporary restoration of traffic, their priority currently is safety of the people. “As the rains continue, the slides and loose strata are continuously falling. For that, while big concrete barricades are being put up towards the loose hillside on the entire patch, steel barricades with a height of around 5 metre each and earthen bunds are being put up towards the valley side,” Dahiya added.

To ensure the safety of commuters, flood lights are being put up for night time, traffic marshalls would be deployed 24×7 on the highway, ambulances will be placed for any emergency response, and the police department is also requested to deploy their forces for the purpose, the NHAI director said. “For water flow management, we have put up 1200 mm diameter hume pipes so that the water percolates directly into the valley and does not erode the D way created. Also we have put up our camps on both sides to ensure nothing goes wrong as it is just a temporary arrangement with the base of the road still not stable,” Dahiya added.

SP Solan Gaurav Singh said that forces from the Parwanoo police station have been deployed, and an additional special reserve of 28 personnel would be sent on Tuesday. “To ensure that only light vehicles are allowed to move towards Chakki Mor, barricades would be put up at Parwanoo and Kumarhatti points. As for the heavy vehicles, they would be diverted from Parwanoo and Kumarhatti to the already existing alternative routes,” the SP added. Meanwhile, for the locals, it is a welcome news and they have also offered prayers to their local gods at Chakki Mor site, so that such a natural fury does not happen in that area again.

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