Over 400 passenger vehicles were stranded at different places after police closed down the 300-km long highway, which is a major road link connecting Kashmir with rest of the country.

"There has been over 45 centimetre deep snowfall on the highway at Batote and Banihal sectors during the night. The highway shall remain closed for traffic today. Travellers must contact our control rooms at Srinagar and Jammu to know the latest on the status of the highway," a senior official of the traffic department said.

Border Roads Organisation (BRO) officials have deployed machines to clear the highway of snow, officials said.     
Kotwal said continuous snowfall is hampering clearance operations in stretches of Banihal Tunnel and Batote-Patnitop-Kud areas on the highway.

The highway is the Kashmir Valley's only road link to the rest of the country as the railway track between Udhampur and Banihal towns in the Jammu region is yet to be laid.

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