Panaji : Some of Goa’s congested little towns may get a respite, once roads are built around them to shift congestion beyond urban areas. Ironically, this effort is getting a boost from a strange source.
Mud is being taken from the site of a major landslide near the Mandovi bridge, which connects the state capital Panaji with the rest of Goa.
A landslide on the approach road to the northern side of the bridge caused heavy disruption to traffic for weeks. That was early last month.
The landslide followed incessant rains. Trees were uprooted and a portion of the hill collapsed, sending the mud on to the road and blocking traffic.
Seeking to cash in on this opportunity, work aimed at realigning a four-kilometre stretch of the National Highway from Goa Velha to Agassaim village, 10 km south of Panaji, has picked up speed.
The mud from the landslide, enough to fill thousands of trucks, is coming handy for the construction of the highway. The estimated amount of mud required to complete the stretch is about 100,000 cubic metres.
Land for the road, which winds its way through green and lush fields, was acquired around 13 years ago. However, the work on this stretch of road started only a little over a month ago.
Seen along the road are cut coconut trees.
Currently, the width of the road is maintained at 20 metres. This will be later increased to 45 metres-the minimum required for a national highway according to the highway rules.
The West Coast-hugging National Highway 17 starts at Panvel in Maharashtra and ends at Edappally, near Ernakulam in Kerala.
It moves through the western coastline, touches the Arabian Sea at Maravanthe in Karnataka and passes through Maharastra, Goa, Karnataka and Kerala.
The highway connects important cities and towns like Mumbai, Ratnagiri, Panaji, Margao, Udupi, Mangalore, Kasargod, Kannur, Kozhikode and Kochi as well as sea ports like Mumbai, Mormugao, New Mangalore and Kochi.
This is part of the National Highways Development Project (NHDP) that envisages an uninterrupted flow of traffic on four lanes.
For the initial part, the mud used to come from the neighbouring village of Bambolim. But the mud from the Porvorim landslide site has helped to complete around one and a half kilometres.
This bypass could serve as a boon to travellers as the road used by vehicles at present winds through the old village.
With houses built virtually at the edge of the road, traffic jams are the order of the day, especially when a bus decides to halt for passengers.