PANAJI: PWD Minister Nilesh Cabral today said that mangroves are interfering with and have penetrated the base, and consequently the foundations of the Panaji-Ribandar causeway thus making it weak
“A close look at the base of the walls on either side indicates that the roots of the mangroves are interfering with and have penetrated the base, and consequently the foundations of the causeway. This is probably one of the reasons why the roadway is becoming weak and appearing to be collapsing or sinking,” said Cabral.
He further said that, despite the above observations, there is structurally not much distress noticed on the causeway and it is safe for Light Motor Vehicles and light Commercial Vehicles.
“The segment of the bridge showing distress has been closed as the traffic is diverted on the alternate bridge /culvert constructed by PWD and the traffic is moving safely. Although there is no need to have any fear or anxiety about the safety on the bridge, the fact is that this bridge needs repairs and the earlier it is done, the better it is,” he added.
Cabral said that he has directed his department to have a periodical structural review of the said bridge and if there is the slightest doubt of its structural stability, the bridge shall be further closed for commercial vehicles as well as local buses.
Minister said that this bridge is a heritage bridge, and a proper and scientific approach ought to be taken involving renowned experts to decide on the methodology to be adopted in the restoration so that no trial and error methods are adopted.
“In the 1980s, since a lot of soil erosion was being seen, planting of Mangrove trees on the southern bank of the river was undertaken by the forest department, to prevent erosion of the bridge,” he added.
Meanwhile, Cabral said that the bridge had been damaged due to continuous tidal motion in 2011 and 2014 and to prevent further damage, construction of a protective wall was initiated by the Goa Public Works Department.