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Monday, April 22, 2024

Costa Rica Closes Down Tempisque River Bridge for Emergency Repairs

The iconic Tempisque River bridge, known locally as La Amistad, will be fully closed to all traffic starting Monday, April 1st to undergo much-needed structural repairs, according to an announcement made today by the National Roads Council (CONAVI).

The 780-meter-long suspension bridge, situated between Cañas and Nicoya cantons along National Route 18, is comprised of both cable-stayed and fixed concrete segments spanning Costa Rica’s largest river. While initially built to last 100 years after its opening in 2003, officials say critical components of La Amistad now demand rehabilitation just 15 years on.

“There are damaged supports, crumbling infrastructure, and faulty lighting that pose safety hazards we can no longer ignore,” stressed Juan Alvarado, lead engineer at CONAVI. “We explored all options to keep the bridge open but ultimately have no choice except to fully close it down for these intensive repairs.”

Starting April 1st, all pedestrian, bicycles, motorcycles, cars and trucks will be strictly prohibited from crossing the Tempisque bridge for the duration of the construction project, which is expected to conclude by May 15th barring any delays. The closure regrettably coincides with the peak Easter holiday week as well Nicoya’s annual annexation celebration later that month.

“We deliberately postponed the repairs to minimize impact on tourism,” explained Minister of Public Works Diego Sanchez on the timing. “However, this is an urgent matter of public safety, so we ask for patience and understanding from residents and visitors alike.”

The ¢1.7 billion rehabilitation commissioned to Estrumet Metalmecánica involves replacing damaged concrete supports along several piers, worn out expansion joints, tower adjustments, new LED lighting, asphalt resurfacing and general maintenance. The bridge’s main cables were inspected and cleared as structurally sound.

Officials advise motorists to instead detour through La Abundancia ferry crossing or take the scenic 40-minute route around the gulf. They remain confident the critical repairs will extend La Amistad’s lifespan for decades more as an indispensable transportation artery and iconic monument to friendship between nations.

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