Contracts approved for work on three more major bridges

The transport ministry has gotten the financial green light for three more improvements of major bridges in the country. This brings the total to eight.

The latest contracts to be approved involve Ruta 32, the San José-Guapiles highway, Ruta 4 in Puerto Viejo de Sarapiquí and Ruta 218 that connects San José with Guadalupe.

Two jobs that were begun last year are nearly done. A bridge over the Río Aranjuez is listed as 80 percent complete and one over the Río Abangares is listed as 70 percent complete.

Three other bridges, over the rios Azufrado, Nuevo and Puerto Nuevo, have been approved and contractors are moving machinery into place to begin work.

The bridges approved this week span the Río Sucio on Ruta
32 (187 meters or 614 feet), the Torres on Ruta 218 (66.4 meters or about 218 feet) and the Chirripó on Ruta 4 (176 meters or about 578 feet). Each was built with the expectation of handing from 24 to 32 tons in the 1950s.

But the bridges will be reinforced to handle 40 tons, said the Consejo Nacional de Vialidad.

Bridges were a political problem during the Óscar Arias Sánchez administration. There were several spectacular accidents involving various spans, and studies showed that most of the nation’s bridges were in bad state of repair.

The ones being rebuilt are those handling high traffic.

Bridges also will be a topic Tuesday when structural experts from Virginia Tech present a seminar at the Instituto Tecnológico de Costa Rica on management of risks and experiences with devices to measure earthquakes.

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