With a nearly 50-metre stretch each sinking at two locations in Sanwara on the Chandigarh-Shimla National Highway-5, channelling traffic has become an arduous task for the Himachal police. More so as the lane facing the hill has been lying closed for traffic owing to mounds of debris flowing down the slopes following rain.
A narrow lane is available for motorists and vehicles from one side are permitted to cross at a time. Initially, only one portion of the road had developed cracks near an HPMC juice bar.
The cracks, however, deepened and the road has sunk by a few feet now. Some showrooms, restaurants and hotels, including Hotel AAA, which lie next to the sinking site, have been declared unsafe and vacated by the authorities.
Other structures in the periphery too face the risk of being damaged if the road sinks further as the repair work is yet to begin. Gaping cracks are also visible at another spot on the road.
Policemen have been deputed to ensure the smooth movement of traffic as the highway faces a heavy influx of vehicles carrying essential commodities, tourists, apples and vegetables, besides inter-state and local buses.
Anand Dhaiya, Project Director, NHAI, said the restoration work at sites where the damage was less would begin soon while for more-damaged points such as Chakki Mor, an expert opinion was awaited.
“Temporary restoration measures are underway. The work to clear the debris at various points on the Parwanoo-Solan highway is likely to be completed within two weeks,” said Dhaiya.
The residents, meanwhile, are awaiting permanent restoration of the highway as every spell of rain has been aggravating the situation.
Balwinder Singh, project in-charge of construction firm GR Infraprojects, said, “A tentative plan for restoring the damage has been sent to the NHAI. Once they approve it, the final design will be sent and the work will begin as per their directions.
At least 12 vulnerable sites, including two at Sanwara, have been included where the restoration work is awaiting approval.”