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Sunday, February 18, 2024

Infamous ‘La Platina’ bridge to close for 24 hours beginning Thursday

The seemingly never-ending works on “La Platina” bridge will continue to frustrate Costa Rican motorists this week as another prolonged closure looms. Officials from the Public Works and Transport Ministry (MOPT) announced Tuesday that the heavily trafficked bridge will be closed for 24 hours beginning Thursday morning at 9 a.m.

Known commonly as “La Platina,” the bridge over Virilla River is part of the General Cañas Highway connecting San José with Alajuela province, and is the major route from the capital city to Juan Santamaría Airport. Traffic coming from Alajuela and the airport will be closed off from 9 a.m. Thursday until 9 a.m. Friday, while traffic coming from San José toward Alajuela will be stalled from 10 p.m. Thursday until 5 a.m. Friday, according to a MOPT press release.

Continued construction on the bridge goes in line with a long history of promises to widen the bridge and create more lanes. President Luis Guillermo Solís is the third Costa Rican president to promise that the bridge would be widened under his or her tenure. Since 2009, the bridge over the Virilla has been a headache for drivers and politicians alike, leading to numerous accidents and fatalities on the roads, while spurring on firings and lawsuits within the government.

The current project that is estimated to cost nearly $14 million seeks to add one lane each way, augmenting the total to six lanes going over the bridge.

MOPT officials advised drivers traveling to and from San José and Alajuela during the closure to commute by public bus and train in order to avoid worsening the inevitably bad traffic that will occur.

Solís administration multitasker Mariano Figueres, who has been appointed as the project’s supervisor, said at a Tuesday press conference at Casa Presidencial that construction work on the bridge has undergone more delays, extending the construction period by up to 60 days. Figueres deflected blame from MOPT, saying that the cause of the delays is Hurricane Otto and the resources it has required from the government in wake of its destructive path.

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