New bridge will open in December: Cabral
Stating that the new Zuari bridge would be thrown open to motorists only after all safety measures are checked and adopted, PWD Minister Nilesh Cabral on Wednesday said traffic would be distributed across the old and new Zuari bridges.
Speaking to reporters after overseeing the final load testing operations of the New Zuari Bridge, Cabral said the new Zuari bridge and the old Zuari bridge would act as one-way routes for traffic, with an exception that one lane of the new Zuari bridge would be dedicated for heavy vehicles which would not be permitted to travel on the old bridge.
“Regarding the traffic movement when one side of the new Zuari bridge is opened, we have decided in principle that traffic moving from Panaji to Margao and Vasco side will use the old bridge as one-way for light vehicles and one lane of the new Zuari bridge will be kept open for heavy vehicles moving from Panaji to the other side.”
“All vehicles moving from Margao and Vasco side towards Panaji will use the three lanes of the new Zuari bridge. We will put this on paper and have a notification to see on a trial and error basis for 15 days and work out a plan. This new bridge will be used in principle for traffic moving from Margao and Vasco towards Panaji,” said Cabral.
Cabral clarified that the new Zuari bridge would be inaugurated only after all safety measures and safety parameters are checked.
“We have been hearing for a long time on the dates for the inauguration of this new bridge. The DBL will tell us the dates though we will maintain our promise that we will open in December and final dates will be decided later,” said Cabral.
“We will make a traffic plan, notify traffic movement, carry out safety measures and after the final load testing, we can start operations here.”
The minister informed that DBL got 32 trucks of 32 tones each to check for load testing operations.
“These trucks will be placed here as per drawing given by the technical consultant and these trucks will stay here for 24 hours to test the load. They will check the load figures again 24 hours after removing the trucks and then they can examine the deflection.”
“This exercise will be monitored for the next 5 days and we can finally decide the load testing. This is done only for load test on cable stress spanning across 640 metres,” said Cabral.
Cabral said a new system would be implemented to check for traffic violations on the new bridge.
“I will sign a file today to introduce a system where we will have signals on traffic islands where we will use artificial intelligence to capture all traffic violations including driving without seatbelts and helmets, overtaking, etc and to generate an automatic challan. This system will be tested at the Merces circle next month. This system will be implemented on the new Zuari bridge at a later stage,” said Cabral.
Cabral said the new Zuari bridge has maintenance period of eight years and approach areas for four years, which would be maintained by the project proponents.
“The new bridge will be opened for all vehicles, including two wheelers, and we may have to move a separate tender to renovate the old bridge because it is not totally safe. When this entire bridge is ready by 2024, both sides of this bridge is opened and the old bridge may be closed,” said Cabral.
The minister also informed reporters that though the Atal Setu was not built through the PWD, the PWD was willing to help if a request was offered to them by the GSIDC.
“We have a meeting this month whether buildings by GSIDC should be handed over to PWD. Some have been handed over to the PWD. When we have two agencies, there could be a confusion. As of now, the GMC and Dental College have been handed over to the PWD and we are taking over the maintenance of those buildings,” said Cabral.