Traveling to Shimla is going to be painful these few months. The National Highway 22 which is the highway of choice to enter Shimla has been facing choking traffic for some time now. This is mainly due to the fact that the NHAI is widening the 40 km long NH22, in-spite of environmental concerns.
The widening of the NH22 involves the loosening up of soil around the plush mountainside which can give rise to many problems later like landslide.'A moderate rainfall triggers massive landslides along the highway as the earth becomes loose due to the cutting of hills and the movement of road construction machines. This leads to traffic jams almost every day,' Dheeraj Bhaik, a daily commuter on the highway, said. Tourists have been complaining in stringent terms about the construction work at the highway. Incidents like falling boulders and loose mud is a huge liability to the the commuters. This potentially dangerous situation could snowball further if no action is taken. Adding to the woes of commuters, an NHAI official said the widening of the road will take more than a year to complete as the cutting of slopes has just started near the Timber Trail Hotel. The environmentalists are concerned that the blasting rocks and the exploding debris is weakening the strength of the hill and it is a disaster waiting to happen.They are of the opinion that that it took atleast 20 years to stabilise the hills when the original highway was built and the government has been undoing its good work by widening the highway. The NHAI has responded by saying that they are following the most optimum and efficient steps on widening the highway and besides the traffic inconveniences there is nothing to be worried about. The state government has ensured that security forces are dispatched so that the traffic problem can be sorted and worked upon. If you are going to travel to Shimla during this time, the present situation should be noted and precaution taken.