San Ramón highway project would be a concession

Government officials are setting the stage for issuing a concession for the San José-San Ramón highway.

The 57.8-kilometer (36-mile) stretch was estimated to cost $197 million eight years ago and will now cost $400 million due to inflation and the rising cost of materials, said the Consejo Nacional de Concesiones in a press release.

The Consejo estimated that the toll for the entire route would be about 2,000 colons or about $4.

The San José-Caldera highway was built by a firm that has a concession.

The San Ramón job is being designed to solve many of the government’s headaches. For example, the concession holder would be obligated to build a four-lane bridge over the Río Virilla adjacent to the troubled bridge that is causing so many problems with deteriorating concrete and an expansion joint that cannot be fixed. That highway would be alongside the Autopista General Cañas.

The concession holder also will be obligated to build a third lane on each side of the Juan Pablo Segundo bridge in La Uruca.

The first stretch, between La Sabana and Juan Santamaría airport is estimated to cost $200 million, said the Consejo. However, the agency also said that Costa Ricans would save $30 million a year in reduced fuel costs, vehicle costs and a reduction in air pollution. The trip is estimated to take 45 minutes.

There are three stages. The La Sabana-airport link is the first. The second is from the airport to San Ramón, and the third is to link Río Segundo de Alajuela with San Rafael de Alajuela.

The Consejo was motivated to issue the release because of negative publicity in the Spanish-language press. One story said there would be eight toll stations. The Consejo said two. The news story also estimated that the toll would be about 3,000 colons or about $6.

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