All except Salang highway open to traffic: Mangal
KABUL (Pajhwok): The Ministry of Public Works on Tuesday said all roads, except the Salang Highway, were open to vehicular traffic across the country and urged drivers to avoid travelling on snow-bound roads.
Acting Public Works Minister Noor Gul Mangal told reporters in Kabul the Salang road was closed after heavy snowfall continued to lash both northern and southern parts of the highway for the last two days, raising fears of avalanches.
Mangal said the Public Works Ministry’s job was keeping roads open, but sometimes natural disasters and reconstruction works led to closure of roads.
The Salang highway was closed on Monday morning, according to Gen. Rajab Ali, the highway’s maintenance commander, who said the road was expected to be reopened tomorrow.
Rajab Ali said efforts were underway to reopen the Salang highway and no passenger vehicle was stranded on the route.
The acting public works minister said they had learned lessons from past tragedies on the Salang Highway. He said a team, after receiving training in Italy, had been deputed at the Salang highway and modern equipment had been installed on the route to indicate possible avalanches.
About five years ago, a massive avalanche buried dozens of passenger vehicles on the Salang road, killing 170 people and injuring another nearly 100.
Mangal also said the sliding of a large block of rock last night closed the Kabul-Jalalabad road in the Mahipar pass and since then, Public Works Ministry officials had been working to remove the debris. The road was cleared before noon on Tuesday, he said.
He said there were more than 300 tunnels in Afghanistan and 32 of them were dangerous, urging passengers to be careful.
“We want passengers should avoid travelling on dangerous roads when flash floods or snow avalanches are feared. Commuters should listen to advices of our ministry workers.”
Last night, a toddler was among four people killed as a result of an avalanche in the Yakawlang district of central Parwan province.
Another child died after a snowstorm stranded vehicles in a tunnel in the Balkhab district of northern Sar-i-Pul province two days ago.
Moreover, one person was killed and four others wounded when the roof of their house collapsed in the Shindand district of western Herat province.
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