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Costa Rican authorities investigate explosives left on La Platina bridge

February 8, 2017

Not a day goes by in Costa Rica when people aren’t talking about “La Platina,” the main bridge connecting Alajuela to San José that seems to be perpetually under construction.

On Wednesday, the bridge again became a central talking point, but not because of the usual delays in roadwork that are causing huge traffic headaches for motorists. Authorities announced that, days ago, they found what appeared to be a homemade bomb on the polemic bridge. The announcement came as multiple local newspapers were reporting that someone left a stick of dynamite on the bridge on Friday.

Mariano Figueres, the director of the Department of Intelligence and Security, said in a Wednesday press release that the object found was actually a bombeta de turno, or a firework commonly used at fairs here. The low-powered explosive in question was made up of black gunpowder wrapped in brown paper and connected to a fuse, Figueres said.

“This type of device didn’t represent any imminent danger for the bridge’s structure. However, the case is being fully investigated,” Figueres said. “We’re not going to allow irresponsible pranksters to plant fear in people.”

He added that police security will be amped up around the bridge, which is in the midst of a six-week closure, one that has routinely lead to traffic nightmares in the Alajuela, Heredia, and San José metropolitan areas. The bridge has undergone repeated construction projects for a decade and is on the main route between Juan Santamaría International Airport and the capital.

Construction workers with the Public Works and Transport Ministry (MOPT) are adding a third lane in both directions to try to speed up traffic along the General Cañas Highway.

With the much-publicized problems stemming from the bridge in the past few weeks, it seems possible that the person or persons who left the makeshift firework at the bridge were just looking to get a rise out of the public and weren’t looking to harm anyone. Figueres, however, said authorities aren’t laughing.

“This was a prank in very bad taste, and we are taking it extremely seriously,” he said.

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