In 2007 the Japanese Agency for International Cooperation did a study of the nation’s bridges and found that 1,330 were deteriorating alarmingly and that 29 required urgent work. Now the public works ministry is contracting for another study.
The state of the bridges is becoming a political issue. The Partido Acción Ciudadana said Tuesday that the government should cut the Consejo Nacional de Vialidad out of the picture and contract with Universidad de Costa Rica experts. The statement cited the Japanese study. The party does not consider the work of the Consejo to be competent.
The university is the location for the Laboratorio Nacional de Materiales y Modelos Estructurales. That is the agency that had studied and advised on Ruta 27, the Caldera highway, and also the collapse of the section of the Circunvalación. In the latter case, the Laboratorio said that the initial work was not going to hold, but the government officials ignored this advice. That is why the key highway had to be closed a few days later.
It appears instead that the Ministerio de Obras Públicas y Transportes has entered into an agreement with the Instituto Tecnológico de Costa Rica in Cartago to do a long-term study.
Acción Ciudadana also said that investments in bridge work has fallen by 50 percent from 2010 to 2012. The political party wants the work of refurbishing the bridges to be handed over to another ministry agency to avoid what it said was duplication there.
Juan Carlos Mendoza García, an Acción Ciudadana lawmaker, urged action before there is a human tragedy.