Goa is well on its way to getting two new bridges that are supposed to ease the state’s traffic woes in the long run. For now, traffic is chaotic despite one of the new bridges, the one over the Mandovi river, almost being ready. However, in recent months, most of the attention has been on the new Zuari bridge. With commuters using this route to travel to and from Panjim, there have been endless traffic jams and accidents. The government is now looking at an alternate route to ease the flow of traffic.
The bridges over Goa’s most famous rivers
Work has been going full swing to get both bridges ready in 2019. The third Mandovi bridge is due to be ready by 12th January if all the news reports are correct. However, it won’t be inaugurated immediately as the Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, who was invited to be the chief guest at the inaugural, won’t be available on this date due to other appointments.
Since 2018, there have been major issues with traffic on the Panjim – Margao route with people getting stranded for more than two hours between the Agassaim bypass and the three-kilometer Cortalim stretch. While traffic has also been bad on the Panjim-Porvorim and beyond route, it has still been manageable for the most part and all have reached where they wanted to go with just a small delay.
In the last two months or so, there have been news reports that the government will divert all the traffic going to Margao, via the old airport road. This is because Dilip Buildcon, the company that was awarded the contract for the new Zuari bridge’s construction has approached the government and stated that there is a three-kilometer stretch that will have to be shut down for the work to continue uninterrupted. This bit of highway, between the Cortalim junction and the Toyota showroom at the beginning of the Verna plateau, would actually have to remain shut for the better part of 2019, if not longer.
Concerned authorities will identify an alternate route
However, news of this impending diversion has caused commuters to be up in arms. The alternate route that was originally identified would add approximately twenty-two kilometers to an already long journey. This would mean that people would have to leave even earlier than usual to get to their destination if using this particular route.
Now, the concerned authorities have identified an alternate route that will not add so much travel time between Panjim and Margao. Minister for Public Works Ramakrishna Dhavalikar said, “we have several routes in mind for diversion of traffic, but as per this alternative route, vehicles heading towards Margao from Panaji will have to travel additional 4.5 kilometres from Cortalim ferry point to Kesarval via primary health centre of Cortalim and Velvado, while vehicles proceeding towards Panaji from Margao will have to travel an additional 2 kilometers to Cortalim junction via Sancoale for which land parallel to the Konkan railway route will have to be acquired.”
While it’s not clear when all this will be enforced, the authorities have mentioned that there are certain parts of the plan that still need to be worked out after which, commuters will have to use the alternate routes to and from Margao. This is slated to happen sometime after 16th January 2019.