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La Platina bridge will partially reopen next week

March 15, 2017

Vehicle passage on the bridge over the Virilla River on the General Cañas Highway — better known as La Platina — will partially open next week, the Public Works and Transport Ministry (MOPT) announced.

Minister Carlos Villalta said during an inspection on Wednesday that the MOPT will open three of the planned six lanes of the Alfredo González Flores bridge, the official name of the infamous puente.

Once the three lanes are fully operational, the project’s 170 workers will begin working on the other side of the bridge to build the remaining three lanes.

Villalta said he expects the bridge “to be completed and with its six lanes fully operational by April 30.”

In the meantime, MOPT will alternate the direction of one of the three lanes to facilitate traffic flow during peak hours. Between midnight and noon, motorists traveling between Alajuela and San José will be able to use two of the three lanes; during the afternoons and evenings, two lanes will be assigned to traffic going from San José to Alajuela.

Watch a video of work on the bridge this week:

Long overdue

The administration of President Luis Guillermo Solís is the third, following those of former presidents Oscar Arias and Laura Chinchilla, to promise to fix and expand the narrow, bumpy bridge that handles some 90,000 cars daily.

In 2011, Chinchilla admitted that “La Platina” had been her biggest frustration and recognized it as “a monument to the failure of public works projects.”

The bridge is on the main route connecting the capital, San José, with the province of Alajuela — including the Juan Santamaría International Airport — and Costa Rica’s Northern and Pacific regions.

Since 2009, it has caused headaches and cost various public officials their posts.

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