Reports from troubled highways chronicle problems

The Autopista del Sol remains closed because a final inspection of the Atenas-Orotina stretch had been delayed, and on the Autopista General Cañas chaos reigned over the weekend because the infamous bridge over the Río Tiribi was shut for repairs.

The Sociedad Concesionaria Autopistas del Sol said Sunday that it had requested an inspection of the work and that one was scheduled for Sunday afternoon. However, for undisclosed reasons the inspection was put off.

This is the roadway where rocks have been falling, including some on motorists. There has been one death.

The new highway was closed to allow workers to reduce some of the steep slopes and to put up protection for motorists. This is the much sought San José-Caldera highway that has been 40 years in planning. It finally opened in the last days of the Óscar Arias Sánchez administration early last year. Since then there has been one problem after another.

The Río Tiribi bridge was just finished two weeks ago, and the concrete of the bridge deck began to flake and crumble. Officials still don’t know why, but workers were on the bridge over the weekend applying a quick fix. They applied concrete on top of the eroded concrete after digging out what they could between a reinforcement grid of metal.

Meanwhile, weekend traffic detoured through back roads. The highway is the main connection between San José and Alajuela with its Juan Santamaría airport.

The bridge deck was replaced in the recent work that began just after Christmas. There has been one death here, too. A highway worker died one night while working near the bridge. Agents later detained a Canadian and said he was the hit-and-run driver.

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