Finally, work will start next week on the troubled “La Platina” bridge over the Virilla River, according to the Public Works and Transport Ministry (MOPT).
The private construction firm CODOCSA won the ₡4.5 billion ($9 million) contract, which is expected to take 13 months to complete.
MOPT Minister Pedro Castro on Thursday submitted a soil study as requested by the National Technical Secretariat of the Environment Ministry, and sent CODOCSA the official order to begin mobilizing equipment on the General Cañas Highway, a vital route that connects the capital to the province of Alajuela, and the main highway to the Juan Santamaría International Airport.
Repairs to the 52-year-old bridge focus on enhancing the ability of the structure to withstand earthquakes and increasing weight capacity from 24 to 40 tons, MOPT said.
The first phase will take a year, and workers then will add a prefabricated concrete slab to replace the metal grid on the bridge’s floor. That metal grid, which caused several problems over the years, is what earned the 160-meter bridge its nickname, “La Platina.”
MOPT officials said the bridge’s two lanes would remain open during the first stage of construction.
A crane will be placed next to the bridge to transport construction materials and personnel, and CODOCA workers are building a side access to the bridge’s foundations, which will help avoid lane closures.
MOPT asked drivers to reduce speed when crossing the bridge.