Costa Rica road officials were warned in 2006 bridge would collapse
TURRUBARES, Costa Rica – The collapse of a bridge last week that resulted in the death of five people could have been avoided had the government taken heed of an engineer´s report carried out in 2006, the report´s commissioner has claimed.
The report, complete with photographs, highlighted a series of structural problems and warned of a possible collapse of the bridge over the Río Tárcoles, on the way to the central Pacific town of Orotina.
The morning of Oct. 22, the report´s predictions became frighteningly real. One of the cables of the bridge snapped under the weight of a full school bus, which fell six meters into the water.
“It was obvious the bridge was in need of attention, it was more than 80 years old,” Saborio said.
“Many of our visitors used to cross that bridge to get to the park, so we, in conjunction with the municipality, paid for an engineer to carry out a survey, which we sent to (the road authorities) CONAVI, but nothing was done about it.”
Despite those warnings in September 2006, the only work carried out on the bridge in the three years until its collapse was the replacement of 200 wooden planks lining the bridge floor, repairs to a left hand support pillar and a reduction in vehicle weight allowance, from nine tones to four.
Annotated pictures of the support cables connected to concrete blocks at either end of the bridge explained how “years of strain caused by heavy vehicles could have caused severe interior damage and could lead to a collapse of the entire structure,” the report contended.
It concluded: “Considering the level of use and nature of the vehicles that cross the bridge have changed considerably in the last few years, we consider necessary the building of a new, two-lane concrete and steel bridge with side barriers and space for pedestrians.”
Following the bridge´s collapse, the Public Works and Transport Ministry called on a Japanese technical expert who will supervise the repair of 10 Costa Rican bridges, earmarked as “priority,” throughout the country.
The expert, experienced in the design of steel and concrete bridges, will be working with engineers starting next year.
See the Oct. 30 print or digital edition of The Tico Times in-depth coverage and analysis.
You may be interested
Nicaragua celebrates a joyous festival of horrors in lead-up to HalloweenAlejandro Zúñiga - October 26, 2020
Disguised as devils, witches, goblins and terrifying characters from indigenous mythology, thousands of Nicaraguans celebrated with joy and boisterous dances…
News briefs: Costa Rica news highlights to start your weekThe Tico Times - October 26, 2020
Happy Monday from The Tico Times! We hope you're reading this while drinking a delicious Costa Rican coffee or eating a…
Sloth Sunday: Awarding the top sloths of the 2020 Ironman GamesThe Tico Times - October 25, 2020
Over the last five days, sloths at the Toucan Rescue Ranch have participated in grueling tests of strength and endurance…