The 45 years old bridge on Kushawati River at Quepem which is the only way to link Quepem town to Curchorem, Sanguem and other places is it safe for heavy transportation?
The 100 mts length and 20 mts height bridge on Kushawati river and known as Kushawati Bridge was constructed soon after liberation of Goa at an estimated cost of Rs.10 lakhs by Gammon India Pvt. Ltd. Company Bombay.
The work of the bridge was commence in January 1961 and the same was inaugurated on 18/11/1962. It was constructed in place of the then exiting bridge which was demolished by the then Portuguese regime on 18th December 1961.
In early 2010 the villagers of Quepem raised concern over the safety of the bridge as heavy mining transport was plying over it.
Due to the outcry made by the public the PWD Works Division XXV( R ) in April 2010 through a team of experts from Goa College of Engineering Formagudi headed by professor V. Chodankar , assisted by Dr.G. Hegde, Dr. C.S. Gokhale and S. Kakodkar conducted loading test of the Kushawati bridge.
In May 2010 the Goa Engineering Formagudi team of experts submitted their report in which they have mentioned that the bridge is safe for a maximum loading capacity of 15.4 tons.
In its report for the safety of the bridge the team of experts also suggested 7 measures which includes
1. The shot-creting/guniting may be undertaken for concrete spans to strength it and to cover the sxposed reinforcement particularly for Datta mandir side span.
2. To increase thelofe and to strengthen it, FRP wrapping may be undertaken for all three spans.
3. All the abutment may be cleared of all plants growth including penetration of roots.
4. Suitable jacketing measures may be taken for protecting pier pedestals from scouring and the water way below the may be cleaned and cleared.
5. The side rails/hand rails may be painted and strengthened wherever required.
6. The utility lines running on the bridge may be systematically supported and protected
7. Asphalting may be done for carriageway over the bridge.
That though more than 6 months have been passed apart from not taking any steps over the measures suggested by the experts for the safety of the bridge the PWD Quepem is yet to install a signboard mentioning safe loading limit of the bridge.
Assistant Engineer Rosario Pereira when question about the measures taken to prevent overloading over the bridge informed herald that his department is yet to take steps to prevent overloading over the bridge
Adv. Fredrik Pereira, convener of Quepem taluka mining affected peoples forum and instrumental in carrying out the loading test of the bridge informed that the department is not concerned about the safety of the bridge. He further informed that presently the mining trucks carry more than 20 tons over the bridge, if that continued further then one day the bridge may collapse. He further informed that the PWD is hesitating even to put sign board mentioning the loading capacity of the bridge only to protect the interest of the mining trucks and mining companies.