Arches finally put in place under the General Cañas

Consejo Nacional de Vialidad photo
Workmen have placed the concrete arches on a slotted foundation so they will not slip.

Workers managed to put in place giant arches of concrete this weekend under the Autopista General Cañas west of San Jose’s downtown.

This is the spillway that replaces a washout under the lanes of the major highway. Each of the arches weighs 20 tons and there are 18 of them.

All the work is being done under bailey bridges that support the traffic flow. Next the project will be backfilled to the level of the highway. The whole job is estimated at $3 million.

But that is not the only problem on the key highway that runs from San José to Alajuela, the international airport and eventually Nicaragua. This is the Interamericana.
The deck of the highway’s bridge over the Río Virilla continues to erode, and the metal grid of rebars is exposed to traffic. Each day more concrete is lost and more metal is exposed.

The bridge has so frustrated officials that one suggested just building another bridge parallel to the ailing structure. Engineers have said that the bridge is too flexible to support a concrete deck. This is the so-called platina bridge that at first was a joke and later an embarrassment to the Laura Chinchilla administration.

The bridge was called that because at first a plate or platina became loose. Despite repeated construction jobs, the bridge has gone downhill since.

Officials even closed off the bridge for more than a month to make repairs that lasted just a few days.

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