Saturday, May 24, 2014

Mandovi Bridge

About a year ago I had blogged about the Zuari Bridge and how a replacement was due for it. The Zuari Bridge saga is also associated with another and possibly much more important link between Panjim and the rest of north Goa.

In the early 1980’s, Goa experienced a London bridge is falling down scenario when a cantilever of the old Mandovi bridge failed. This led to multiple ferry boats being deployed on the panjim to porvorim route at betim and just besides the old bridge. Eventually the old bridge was rebuilt and another parallel bridge was built to accommodate heavy vehicles.

The Twin Mandovi Bridges Today
It looks like controversy hasn't left the Mandovi bridge behind. As recently as June 2013, PWD engineers found a skeleton in the deck of the old Mandovi bridge. Interestingly the Pillar No 13 of the bridge also has the infamous distinction of having been hit twice in its life by a Ore carrying barge.  The Rege commission which had probed the Mandovi bridge collapse had held faulty design of the cantilever bridge built by gammon India to be the main cause of the failure, with the cantilever failing within 16 years of commissioning of the bridge.

Excerpts from Rege commission report 
“The non-functional hinges between the girder tips were rectified only after three years, cracks were unattended for six years and corrosion of pre-stressed wires, which was noticed in '83, was neglected till the bridge collapsed.”

The Mandovi Bridge Today 
The twin bridges continue the bear the brunt of all traffic going out of Goa towards Sawantwadi and beyond. Below the bridges one can now find the main dock for all river excursion tours which are a must for any visitor to Goa.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Rivers of Goa

Goa is crisscrossed by nine major rivers which form the life blood for goan life as these provide much needed water for irrigation , public use, agriculture, fisheries. The major rivers of goa also provide waterways for transportation of both people as well as goods – mainly mining ores from interiors of goa to the port of Marmugoa. The main rivers of Goa are

Zuari River at Banastarim

Mandovi River at Panjim

Bridges across the Mandovi River

River Sal

Terekhol (originates in Maharashtra)
Chapora(originates in Maharashtra)
Mandovi (Also know as Mahadayi or Mhadei river , originates in Karnataka)

Unique Ecosystem along Goan Rivers

Goan rivers are unique as they are both tidal as well as rain fed. During monsoons water from the mountains and watershed areas gets drained thru these rivers into the Arabian Sea. Major rivers such as Mandovi and Zuari cover a large part of Goa in their catchment areas and these are influenced by tidal flows and influx as much as 40 kms upstream.
River Basin in Goa
Basin Area in Sq. Kms.
3702 Sq. Kms.

This mix of tidal flows as well as rainfed system means that salinity levels vary differently then other rivers of India and this leads to an unique ecosystem of mangroves in the catchment a of the rivers.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Goa Roads - NH17 - Margao to Panjim

National Highway 17 is THE road for Goa. It connects Goa along the coast line from south to north and on a good day it is possible to go from the southern tip of goa ( karwar border) to the northen tip ( sawantwadi -, banda border)in less then 2.5 hrs.

Prior to building of National Highway 17 (NH 17) in the 1960s and 1970s, the sea route to goa from mumbai was the preferred way for movement of goods and people with ships and steamers running between Mumbai and Mangalore calling at different ports in between.

There are two sub highways to NH17

  • 19 km long NH17A which links Cortalim (at the junction with NH 17) with Mormugao
  • 40 km long NH17B which links Ponda with Vasco, via Verna.

Together , NH17, NH17B,NH17A touch the entire coast line as well as interiors of goa and one can see the entire coastal beauty of Goa if one goes down NH17 road . NH17A provides a vital link and an excellent road to the dabolim airport while NH17B opens up the religious and cultural hub of Ponda taluka to the people of Goa