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HomeNewsCosta Rica's Main Caribbean Highway Plagued by Instability

Costa Rica’s Main Caribbean Highway Plagued by Instability

The National Laboratory of Materials and Structural Models of the University of Costa Rica (LANAMME-UCR) conducted an assessment of Route 32 and found at least 140 “critical or unstable” points. The monitoring of this route, which connects San José with Limón, began in 2022, according to Laura Solano, an engineer from LANAMME’s Geotechnical Engineering program. She confirmed that the studies have detected significant deficiencies along this road.

Based on an initial report from 2023, it was determined that the most unstable point is located between kilometers 20 and 63 of the route, at the Santa Clara crossing. This particularly concerns the mountain sector of Route 32, specifically in the Braulio Carrillo area, where the greatest number of slope instability incidents occur.

The engineer explained that the assessments revealed that the slopes are at the limit of equilibrium or exhibit instability due to soil saturation, among other factors. In September 2023, experts visited the site to study these specific points. A year later, they found that the condition of several of them had deteriorated.

LANAMME experts performed a A site and material characterization, a stability analysis, a topographic survey, and a representative sampling of the material in the area. One of the major problems encountered at the inspected sites was deficiencies in the drainage systems.

“In general, there are deficiencies in the water management system, drainage deficiencies, and a lack of erosion controls on the frontal part of the slope,” Laura Solano explained.

The Minister of MOPT, Mauricio Batalla, stated that the primary issue with landslides on the main route to the Caribbean originates in the upper parts of the slopes along Route 32. Consequently, since May 24, the Ministry of Transportation has put out a tender for a contract to evaluate the frequent landslides on the road.

“On Route 32, we are going to hire a group of professionals who will walk through the Zurquí and advise us on the necessary actions to begin the construction design bidding,” he said.

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