Braulio Carrillo highway likely to be closed for two days

Backhoe driver begins the lengthy job of clearing the two-lane highway of the thousands of cubic yards of rock and dirt.

The highway from San José to Limón, Ruta 32, will be closed for at least two days as workers try to clear some 6,400 cubic meters (8,370 cubic yards) of dirt and rock that fell on the roadway early Wednesday. The landslide appears to have been provoked by several days of rain.

This is the Braulio Carrillo highway that is a key route to the east and carried a lot of truck traffic. Now vehicles will have to travel on an alternate route through Turrialba.

Spokespersons for the Ministerio de Obras Públicas y Transportes warn that the time needed might be made longer by bad weather. The location is 10 kilometers (six miles) north of the Zurquí tunnel, a spot that is not considered prone to slides even though the soil rises up nearly vertically.

Officials said that the dirt and rock dumped on the two-lane road was at least eight meters high, some 26 feet, and 100 meters long, about 330 feet.

Motorists also can take a route through Vara Blanca to San Miguel de Sarapiquí and La Virgen. That is a hilly route not suitable for large trucks.

Ruta 32 frequently is closed by slides during the rainy season.
Officials have admitted that the entire route through the mountains needs to be rebuilt.

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