The $230 million highway that would link San José and the Pacific port of Caldera via Ciudad Colón, delayed for almost 30 years, is now one step closer to fruition, according to a statement from the Ministry of Public Works and Transport (MOPT).
The ministry recently recognized the need for a $72 million addition in the budget to Autopistas del Sol, the Spanish-Tico-Portuguese company that holds the concession contract to complete and maintain the highway. The new budget, up from $158 million agreed on six years ago, accounts for inflation and the recent rise in prices of construction materials, according to the daily La Nación.
The additional funding will also account for further safety improvements on the highway, including better illumination and signing, and design features such as functioning drainage ditches, top-quality pavement and stabilization barriers that would prevent mudslides.
The ministry also extended the time it would grant the company to construct the road, from 24 months to 30, to account for the improvements.
The highway, whose plans were drawn more than 30 years ago, and whose five principal bridges were completed in 2004, would measure 77 kilometers and cut onehalf hour from the drive time required to reach the Pacific coast from the country’s Central Valley, thereby relieving pressure on the existing heavily trafficked road (TT, April 20).