Another night of work on the infamous platina bridge

The bad sign is that television commentators have stopped making jokes about the platina bridge. The problems with the span on the Autopista General Cañas started in 2009 when metal covering an expansion joint became loose. The metal resisted every effort to tack it down, so a full-scale rebuilding of the bridge deck took place over Christmas holidays.

Now the bridge deck is eroding and the exposed rebars resist every effort to cover them with concrete.

The last attempt was supposed to be late Saturday and early Sunday. The Consejo Nacional de Vialidad blamed weather conditions for not completing the work, even though the weekend saw few downpours.

Now more work is scheduled for Tuesday night starting at 10 p.m. and continuing until 5 a.m. Wednesday.
Detours will be set up.

The rebar was put down in two layers with the top layer set 90 degrees to the first. So workmen are going to try and fill again the two-inch square pockets between the rebar. They did that once before and the concrete eroded.

Some engineers outside the Ministerio de Obras Públicas y Transporte doubt that the bridge deck will ever be smooth. They suggest that the bridge has too much flexibility and the weight of vehicles grinds the rebar against any concrete that is put down.

Just as bridges that fell down became the hallmark of the Óscar Arias Sánchez administration, the platina bridge, called that because of the rogue metal plate or platina, is becoming the symbol for the Laura Chinchilla administration. And television commentators do not smile now because the bridge problem has evolved from humorous.

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