Costa Rica’s Public Works and Transport Ministry is predicting the Caldera Highway could open as soon as this weekend, if the results of a technical study prove positive.
The new highway from San José to the Pacific coast was shut down June 11 after engineers determined the threat of mudslides and falling rocks made it unsafe for drivers.
The highway was one of former President Oscar Arias’ signature projects, as his administration was able to complete a road that was 35 years in the making. The project cut driving time from the capital city to the coast down to 45 minutes, compared with almost two hours before.
But some accused him of inaugurating the project too quickly, as the onset of rainy season brought issues of mudslides and falling rocks –some causing fatal accidents.
President Laura Chinchilla was forced to close the roadway following a report by the Costa Rican Association of Engineers and Architects (CFIA) that said the 5-month-old highway needed “urgent intervention.”
“There have been important advances,” said Francisco Jiménez, public works and transport minister, during a press conference on Tuesday afternoon. “We will redo an inspection on Wednesday afternoon or Thursday morning … if this investigation proves there are acceptable conditions, we can reopen the route this weekend.”