World’s first glaciated road coming up in Ladakh region

The Border Roads Organisation (BRO) claims to be carving out the world’s first motorable glaciated road in the Ladakh region.

“The road is being constructed under the ‘Project Himank’ of the organisation. It will pass through world’s highest glaciers in eastern Ladakh,” a BRO statement said.

Construction work in full swing under ‘Project Himank’ in the Ladakh region
Construction work in full swing under ‘Project Himank’ in the Ladakh region

“Being constructed at an altitude of over 17,800 feet, the road from Sasoma to Saser La will be a vital link paved over glaciers, which are unstable and frequently change their physical nature,” it said.

The construction of the road is special due to the challenges posed by glaciers and the presence of moraines in the area. Besides adverse weather, biting cold and bone-chilling winds, there is always lurking danger of crevasses and avalanches while the road is being constructed.

“Since the temperature dips to -50°C during winter and hovers around 12°C during peak summer in the region, working in such extreme weather conditions is a Herculean task. Moreover, glaciers that shift constantly as snow melts adds to the difficulty,” the statement added.

As the working period is quite short, the BRO officials are making prior preparations and chalking out a working strategy to achieve its targets in the limited time available.

The BRO said the short working period needs to be utilised to the maximum, thus requiring effective management of manpower and resources to meet out the challenges.

“The planning of work starts four to five months prior to the beginning of the working season,” BRO officials said.

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The officials said the meticulous planning and hard work of the BRO had been extremely essential for the successful completion of the tasks to achieve the target in the working season.

“There is little BRO personnel can do to stop an ice-wall or crevasse opening on what is essentially a moving block of ice, but due to the commitment of jawans and strategic need, the work is being carried on despite the challenges. The construction of such roads is possible due to better equipment, resources, training and medical facilities in place for the BRO personnel working in the hostile high-altitude areas,” they added.

[Originally Posted in Tribune India]

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