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With heavy rains forecast, Costa Rican officials close Route 32 to the Caribbean, evaluate Route 27 closure

September 24, 2014

As heavy rains continue to fall in Costa Rica, highway officials have ordered Route 32 to be closed as of 2 p.m. on Wednesday. The main highway through the Braulio Carrillo National Park and connecting San José with the Caribbean coast will remain closed for at least a day, officials said.

Officials from the Public Works and Transport Ministry also are evaluating the closure of Route 27, the main highway from Costa Rica’s capital to the Pacific port city of Puntarenas. Public Works and Transport Minister Carlos Segnini said a decision on Route 27 would be made in the next few hours.

The National Meteorological Institute (IMN) said a low-pressure system likely would cause severe storms beginning Wednesday in both the Pacific and Caribbean regions. The ground in several areas of Costa Rica already is saturated from heavy rainfall over the past few days.

The decision to close Route 32 follows a dramatic emergency on the highway that began last Thursday and continued over the weekend. For eight hours, at least 40 landslides on the highway trapped thousands of motorists. Miraculously, no one was seriously injured. Officials closed the highway for two days while crews removed debris and engineers evaluated further threats.

Route 27 to the Pacific coast also has been the scene of flash floods and landslides, creating dangerous situations for drivers. A week ago, a motorcycle driver averted tragedy by a mere few seconds. The dramatic event was captured on video by a parked motorist filming on his cellphone:

Officials are advising drivers traveling to coastal areas to use alternate roads. For those heading to Puntarenas, officials recommend Route 1; travelers to Limón should use Route 10, officials said.

 

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