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Friday, 14 December, 2018

The saga of roundabouts in Margao

If motorists were to show constraint at such busy junctions, the commotion that usually characterizes traffic around these intersections wouldn’t be nerve-racking

03rd December 2018, 02:01 Hrs

PACHU MENON

U-turns’ as that inevitable part of Goan politics have kept the locals bemused for quite some time now. Not to say that the fallaciousness of their leaders has not angered them. Coming in for scathing attacks, such attributes have only worsened the disgust people have reserved for politicians over the years. 

But it is difficult to say when exactly the reversal of a political policy and the turning of a vehicle so as to face in the exact opposite direction have come to acquire synonymity over the years!   

However, when it comes to traffic-planning, Goa is no different from other parts of the country as is evident from the long lines of vehicles queuing up along every stretch of road available not only on the occasions of various sporting events and other gala festivities organized by the state, but also during normal days. 

The 49th International Film Festival of India and the Old Goa feast has obviously been a test of nerves for the authorities who are clearly at sea handling the chaos that describes traffic management in the state. 

Even otherwise, the ongoing infrastructure projects in Goa has exposed the ineptness of the state’s traffic cell in managing the affairs of the roads without causing inconvenience to commuting public. 

Take for instance the teeming traffic around GMC, Bambolim. In the absence of a proper traffic management, one would have thought that the commuting public outside the leading healthcare institute stand the risk of ending up as causalities in the trauma wards of the hospital. Hence, it is a miracle that fatal accidents outside GMC are few and far between considering the disorder on the roads. 

The haphazard layout of the roads approaching GMC from both Panjim and Margao is an insult to the specifications for asphalted surfaces. For a person who is not familiar with the layout of the place, missing the entrance to the premier medical institute is quite natural.  

Time and again, the need of constructing a flyover to resolve the complex traffic problem near GMC is mooted, but is yet to see the light of the day. 

As speed-regulators, the countless thermoplastic rumblers that have been laid across the NH are presumably designed to test the limits of engineering standards of automobiles, and also exercises of endurance for the human body.

It is at such times that the state administration’s oversight in neglecting calls for putting up a traffic island at this important junction teeming with speeding ambulances and other vehicles becomes shocking! Serving mainly to dictate who has ‘right of way’, such circular structures at intersections have however added to the commuter woes simply because excessive traffic from one direction with right of way can completely stop all other traffic causing congestion in other directions. 

The Old Market Circle in Margao for example! Envisaged as an attraction for visitors entering the city, the traffic island boasted of an eye-catching landscape and a fountain to go with it. Reduced to rubbles now, a hastily reconstructed concrete design replaces the iconic structure. 

The engineering blunder as the Madgaumcars unduly troubled by the traffic snarls at the junction liked to call it; they are overlooking the initial enthusiasm that greeted the inauguration of this wonderful spectacle as one entered the commercial city. 

But a fatal accident involving a state transport bus at this traffic roundabout soon changed public opinion. From a designer’s marvel, it was now being recognized as a death trap for motorists! The installation of traffic signals further compounded problems here.

But Margao residents forget that the perimeter of the Old Market circle has remained the same all through the years in spite of a giant leap in the vehicular movement the last few years. And hence the bottlenecks that have assumed perennial countenance at the four-road junction! 

No doubt the reduction in width of the circle has enabled more road space for public commutation, but did the installation of the traffic signals at the busy junction necessarily warrant pruning of the old-market circle to meet traffic requirements! As commuters regularly using this route would agree, the traffic bedlam witnessed at the circle is primarily due to the unruly manners of motorists. The automatic formation of three and four lanes at approaching the crossroads is a disgusting motoring etiquette that could well be avoided. 

If motorists were to show a lot more constraint at such busy junctions, the commotion that usually characterizes the traffic around these intersections wouldn’t be nerve-racking experiences any more. 

Likewise, the mess that describes two important junctions in the outskirts of the city! 

The Bolshe-Big Foot circle at the periphery of the city limits! As a busy junction which lies on the eastern bypass highway, vehicular movement here is also characterized by equal confusion and disorder. Wonder whether the same yardstick needs to be applied in the case of this traffic roundabout as well! 

But the worst has been the concrete monstrousness that describes the Aquem-Powerhouse-Davorlim junction at Margao which has been re-aligned and re-altered on a number of occasions depending on the whims and fancies of the TCP department. 

To date nobody, including those who conceptualized it, knows what the whole exercise was, and is, all about! The piece of land which was, and is being, experimented upon lies wasted for years now, virtually turning into an island’ of shrubbery outgrowth with asphalted stretches in between, that was never supposed to have vehicles plying on it.

And the authorities are more interested in shortening the circumference of the apparent circle with concrete slabs placed around in the most unimaginative way – to prevent accidents or abet fatal mishaps, one wonders! 

Hence, one should be pardoned for asserting that the commercial capital of Goa is presently in the throes of the cataclysmic effects of a couple of civil engineering disasters which, in the first place, should never have been sanctioned. Should traffic roundabouts be well and truly on their way out in Goa! 

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