Inter-American Highway Reopens; Caldera Highway Under Repair

October 1, 2010

Updated Monday, Oct. 4, from Friday’s report. 

The old route to the Pacific coast, Montes del Aguacate, has reopened after shutting down over the weekend, rendering transit to and from the coast nearly impossible. The new road to the Pacific, the San José-Caldera Highway, along with several other roads throughout the country were closed due to damage caused by last week’s rain storms. 

Transportation authorities reopened the Inter-American Highway at midday on Friday, following a 48-hour closure due to a mudslide just west of San Ramón.The country’s main north-south artery will remain open, weather permitting, but officials say passage is slow.

While some roads have reopened, the Caldera Highway is expected to be closed until Tuesday, while crews work to install two provisional bridges at Kilometer 47. The metal bridges, one 48 and the other 60 meters long, were paid for with government funds, given the highway’s economic importance, Vice Minister of Transportation María Lorena López said. It would have taken from 45 days to three months for Autopistas del Sol, the private company that built the road and is in charge of its operation, to do the same work, she said. “It is of vital importance to the government to put the highway back into service as soon as possible, due to the the effect (of the closure) to the national economy,” read a press release from the Public Works and Transport Ministry (MOPT).

Last Tuesday, President Laura Chinchilla asked for an investigation into whether Autopistas del Sol complied with the terms contained in the concession to build and operate the highway. Since the highway opened last January, it has been shut down on multiple occasions due to contruction defects and bad weather. Once the highway is in full operation, Autopistas del Sol will not collect the toll at the Atenas tollbooth until further notice, according to MOPT.

Check back for further updates.

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