Tourists descend on Goa's roads on New Year's Eve

Mapusa/Calangute/Margao Jan 1 (TOI): New Year's Eve brought with it excitement, revelry and much-dreaded traffic jams. Across Goa, traffic police did what they could to ensure smooth flow of traffic, but with the influx of hundreds of tourist vehicles it was a daunting task.
Siolim church junction could not hold the heavy traffic inflow and witnessed congestion all Sunday long. The bridge and road in front of St Anthony's Church at Siolim saw traffic come to a standstill as the annual feast of Our Lady of Guide coincided with New Year's Eve.

Since this junction leads to north Goa's tourist hot spots-Anjuna, Vagator, Morjim-it is used by many tourists, in addition to regular road users. Traffic coming from Morjim was diverted via the Sodiem route to Mapusa.

Along the Calangute-Candlim beach belt, fears of jellyfish blooms and a super moon high tide failed to douse the enthusiasm of thousands of tourists.

Tourism stakeholders said traffic was considerably better managed than in previous years with no major traffic jams or disruptions this time.

Calangute panchayat member Shawn Martin said all tourist buses, mini-buses and jeeps bringing in large groups of domestic tourists were stopped on the outskirts of Calangute and parked there to prevent any traffic congestion. "Traffic movement was completely smooth in the interior areas of Calangute," he said.

n South Goa, people thronged to Colva, Benaulim and Varca earlier in the day fearing massive traffic jams later in the evening.

Former Varca sarpanch and private tourist taxi operator Jose Afonso said, "Colva is already jammed with bumper to bumper traffic as there are many outstation vehicles parked everywhere. Government authorities have absolutely no control over the traffic."

South Goa Dy SP (Traffic) Prabodh Sirvoikar told TOI that he is receiving regular updates on the traffic situation within his jurisdiction and is yet to receive any report regarding congestion. Sirvoikar said, "The annual detailed report on the number of accidents and challans issued for various traffic offences will be ready by January 2."

Unlike previous years, there were no traffic jams in Canacona and police were seen manning and controlling traffic to Ourem and Palolem.

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