PANJIM: Chief Minister Pramod Sawant on Saturday afternoon opened Ponda to Panjim arm of the Atal Setu bridge while the Ponda to Mapusa arm will also be opened till Friday in order to ease traffic congestion faced by the motorists for the last few days.
Also two-wheelers have been temporarily allowed on the Ponda to Panjim arm but not on the Ponda to Mapusa arm. Considering the ongoing Goa Board exams, one lane of the Atal Setu will be opened by April 2, while both the lanes will be ready by April 10, said Sawant.
In view of frequent traffic snarls at Panjim and Porvorim on the national highway due to closure of the Atal Setu bridge, the Chief Minister inspected the ongoing work on the Merces junction side and took a site review meeting with the Goa State Infrastructure Development Corporation Limited (GSIDC) officials, North SP, North SP (Traffic) and contractors.
Later, he said that Ponda-Panjim arm will be opened for vehicular traffic on Saturday evening while, vehicles entering Panjim will have to turn left at the multi-level car parking, proceed around the KTCL circle and enter either Patto or Panjim, as per the temporary traffic plan.
Sawant said that the technology used for the Atal Setu bridge road comprising of a middle membrane layer and bitumen over it had failed. The middle membrane layer is being removed now with the help of a German make milling machine, one of two such machines available in the country, he said adding that removing the earlier membrane and laying new membrane is technical and time consuming work involving lot of hard work. The new technology used in resurfacing of Atal Setu is advanced this one and will be the permanent solution to this problem, he said.
Stating that the people should have some patience, he said that that once the membrane layer laying work is completed, laying of bitumen will be completed in a day. He said that L&T company is doing the work free of cost since the technology they have used had failed.
“The new technology being used now will offer smooth ride and will be long lasting. The work is labour intensive as well as involves use of high tech machinery. The people will experience a seamless connectivity,” he claimed.
In the evening, the Chief Minister along with Revenue Minister Atanasio Monserrate inspected the ongoing works in the city under Smart City Mission and said that all the works will be completed before the onset of monsoon.
Sawant said that Smart City works are on and wherever the works are on, it will be barricaded and the work will continue and construction of drains and other works under Smart City will be completed before monsoon, he reiterated.