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Travel Alert: Route 32 blocked by landslide near Zurquí Tunnel

February 6, 2015

Heavy rains in several parts of the Caribbean region on Friday afternoon triggered a landslide that has blocked passage at kilometer 24 of Route 32, the main highway connecting San José with the province of Limón, the Public Works and Transport Ministry (MOPT) reported.

According to MOPT’s Emergency Department, a large amount of mud and debris has blocked three of the highway’s four lanes about four kilometers after the Zurquí Tunnel in the direction of Limón.

MOPT crews arrived in the area with experts and equipment from the National Roadway Council (CONAVI) to evaluate the situation, and at 2 p.m., workers began clearing the road. Officials have not yet estimated how long it will take to fully reopen the highway.

CONAVI recommends drivers take alternate routes via Route 10 between Turrialba and Siquirres, and through Vara Blanca, in Heredia. The latter route should not be used by large vehicles.

The National Meteorological Institute on Friday noted that a high-pressure system currently passing through the Gulf of Mexico is causing an increase in the intensity of trade winds over Costa Rica.

Also on Friday, a report from the University of Costa Rica’s Center for Research in Marine Sciences and Limnology (CIMAR) indicated that tall waves and strong winds that have affected the Caribbean and North Pacific regions recently will continue next week.

These forecasts prompted the National Emergency Commission to extend a green, or preventive, alert until Wednesday for both regions, particularly in coastal areas of the Gulf of Nicoya.

CIMAR also urged caution for small boats during the weekend as choppy seas, strong winds and waves of up to 2.6 meters (8.7 feet) are expected at least until Wednesday. CIMAR warned beachgoers that swells could generate rip currents in both areas.

Last week’s weather also damaged roads in southern Costa Rica, and a 105-meter landslide closed the Inter-American Highway South (Route 2) in an area known as Cerro de la Muerte. That part of the highway remains closed, and motorists must use alternate routes for at least three more weeks.

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