While three bridges will see a face-lift soon, two others may not, due to the proposed bypass
Five minor Portuguese-era bridges, which are narrow and structurally-distressed, on NH 66 between Margao to Canacona are in need of immediate attention and repair.There exists at least five such minor bridges between Margao to Canacona, which have witnessed many motor accidents in the past and may jeopardise the smooth movement of traffic temporarily in future, if any major accident happens on these bridges.The Union Road Transport and Highways Ministry, under its Indian Bridge Management System (IBMS) project in India's first-ever survey of the ‘health of bridges.’ concluded that over 100 bridges on national highways need attention and major maintenance. After the study, the ministry has also found out that there are about 1.6 lakh structures, including culverts, minor and major bridges and flyovers on India's NH network and have allotted an unique identity number.
The existence of five minor bridges at Khaddem, Barcem, Karmalghat, and two at Bhatpal, which were built during the Portuguese rule of Goa, which are narrow that causes many accidents and disrupts traffic movements. Besides, the location of these bridges on sharp turns has made the spots prone to accidents and mishaps.These bridges designed and built decades ago were meant for light and less flow of traffic during those years. However, with thousands of heavy vehicles now plying over these bridges, sometimes carrying over 30 tons of load on a daily basis have put lot of burden and strain on their mechanical stability.
While the bridge at Padi is has been stabilised by reinforcements with MS beams, the four other needs urgent attention from highway authorities. Sources at PWD highways, Margao under whose jurisdiction the stretch of NH 66 between Margao and Gulem falls, said the work for construction of two-lane new bridges at the location of three distressed and narrow bridges at Khaddem, Barcem and at the foothills of Karmalghat are already tendered and work will start in all probability before the end of this financial year.
However, the remaining two weak bridges may remain without repairs due to the construction of a new missing link bypassing this stretch of the highway between Charrasta and Mashem. Sources at the local PWD highways said they regularly check and inspect the health of the bridges and seek opinion from their higher-ups.