Ponda: The Government is going to throw open the new four lane Khandepar bridge built at a cost of Rs 100 crore on Ponda – Belgaum for the public before December 19. However even after that the old Khandepar Portuguese era bridge will continue to be an option for public transportation as the government has decided to continue one-way traffic that will proceed from Ponda to Usgao.
Though the old bridge was constructed considering then transporting carriage capacity, over time it served as a major link and despite restriction of weight, thousands of vehicles with tons of loaded material passed over it without any problem. The bridge however is narrow and this often led to traffic congestion and traffic blocks for long hours. For two decades there was a demand for a new wide bridge. In 2015 Government began the construction of the new bridge which is now almost complete and will be inaugurated soon before December 19.
PWD Minister Sudin Dhavlikar said that bridge is in good condition and will continue to serve one-way traffic proceeding from Ponda to Usgao while the new bridge will be opened for public transportation to proceed from Usgao to Ponda.
The Khandepar bridge was constructed during the Portuguese regime considering the need and ground realities at the time. But over the decades, the bridge has been woefully inadequate to cope with the growing traffic movement along the route. Despite this, the Khandepar Bridge has withstood the quantity and weight of vehicles far beyond its recommended capacity.
The bridge is narrow and frequent traffic jams at the site are a frequent problem confronting motorists. Even a minor mishap on or near the bridge could disrupt traffic for hours together. This, in turn, causes hardship to students and office-goers, emergency and paramedic services cause up in the traffic jams.
“Oncoming heavy vehicles cannot pass on bridge at the same time and the State government is aware of the traffic congestion on this bridge. This bridge was proved vital to us as vegetables and essential commodities are transported from Belgaum to Goa along this route. [H]