26 Jan 2016 05:50am IST
CM Parsekar’s deadline for the completion of the new Mandovi bridge is 18 months; Narrow approaches on Panjim and Porvorim side are further blocked; No back-up plan to streamline rising traffic
In the recently concluded winter session of the Legislative Assembly, Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar assured the State that the Bridge will be complete in 18 months, requesting the people to bear the traffic congestion positively as they will get a better facility in the days to come. However, taking an alternate route or modes of transport during the construction period was barely discussed.
The matter has often been raised in the Assembly ever since the BJP-led coalition announced the need for a third bridge with many raising concerns over possible difficulties vehicle users as well as residents would face.
With the construction already begun and 28 percent work on land complete, experts suggest that using the ferry service could solve the crisis to some extent, though it is certainly not a 100 percent solution to the problem.
“As far as road transport is concerned, we are helpless. The carpet area of the roads on either side (of the construction) will remain the same. The space has, in fact reduced owing to work and approach roads have become narrow,” deputy superintendent of police (traffic) Dharmesh Angle told this reporter.
The traffic expert suggested that using the ferry from Betim and/or Britona would ease vehicular congestion only to an extent. “If a person coming from the highway has to use the ferry service, he still has to cross the road stretch to go down the slope. The ferry service can help people coming from Nerul, Candolim and adjoining areas…” he said adding that traffic chaos could increase in the coming days as the work is expected to extend till the Teen Building.
Meanwhile, government agencies claim they are working to ease the congestion on the otherwise populated NH with River Navigation Department planning to start an additional ferry service on the Betim-Panjim route and new ferry boats from Britona to Panjim.
“Soon, we will have three to four ferries operating along the Betim-Panjim route, which at present is two ferries on a daily basis. Two new ferries will commence on the Britona-Panjim route. Once dredging and silting work is complete, the ferry service on this route will start,” Captain James Braganza said.
Porvorim MLA Rohan Khaunte has seconded the opinion to start the ferry service, a suggestion which he has time-and-again placed before the government. “The sufferers are common people who travel on this route on a daily basis. I had suggested to the government to increase the number of ferries and open the Malim ramp to connect with the marine police jetty in the capital. It is a faster and easier way to transport. Secondly, the government should restrict the entry of trucks on the twin bridges from 8am to 8pm, as this will decongest the road during peak hours,” the Porvorim MLA revealed.
With an adjacent road in Porvorim thrown open for vehicle use, the legislator has pointed out the poor condition. “When the government is building a Rs 500 crore Bridge, it can very well shell out some portion of the money to hot-mix the service road,” he said further alleging that non-coordination between agencies on-the-job results in further chaos.
A traffic and civil engineering professional, Rudresh Shirodkar suggested that the road from Porvorim to Gurudwara at Betim should be used from where a person can take a ferry to travel to Panjim and vice versa. “The internal road is being used, no doubt. But it should be more often used for commuters using the NH daily. The rider/driver can turn towards this road to avoid the heavy traffic and smoothly travel via ferry,” he suggested.
Meanwhile, the outbound Panjim-South Goa traffic can take the new Dona-Paula Bambolim highway which is wide and smooth and is not being used at all according to potential.