President rejects some changes relating to closed highway

The central government has decided not to expand metro area vehicle restrictions even though the Circunvalación is out of service.

The Ministerio de Obras Públicas y Transportes suggested last week that in addition to being forbidden to drive one weekday each week in the metro area, drivers also would be barred during peak traffic hours on another day. All of this is based on the last digit of the license plate.

President Laura Chinchilla also determined that some public agencies could adopt a 10-hour work day so that employees would only have to travel to the job for four days each week. There are about 55,000 public employees working in the metro area, said Casa Presidencial.

There was an idea floated that public employees would arrive at work at 9 a.m.  That plan has been discarded, and work hours will remain from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. in many agencies that do not accept the four-day option, said Casa Presidencial. Workers at hospitals, clinics and in the police forces are not affected by this rule.  They will continue their normal working hours, said Casa Presidencial.

The Circunvalación is supposed to be out of service between Hatillo and the Pavas exit for two months. Some 120 traffic officers will be on the job maintaining traffic flow elsewhere and enforcing the license plate restrictions. The Circunvalación was the southern and eastern border of the restricted area.

Ms. Chinchilla was quoted in a statement saying that the problem with the Circunvalación was the result of many years of ignoring the maintenance of the national road network. The highway collapsed after a major drain failed, and the Río María Aguilar continues to eat at the soil under the four-lane road.

She was a vice president for four years and now has served more than three years as president.

To help commuters, there might be some increase in train service. and officials are considering more bus routes. The Autoridad Reguladora de los Servicios Públicos noted Friday that it already had approved a fare of 350 colons for the so-called rutas intersectoriales. There actually are buses that have been purchased for this new service, but the project has been mired in bureaucracy since 2008.

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