Oh, no! They plan to close the General Cañas tonight

Motorists who commute to San José from the west and tourists coming and going to the airport should keep their fingers crossed.

The national road agency said that workers will take another crack at the Río Virilla bridge on the General Cañas Autopista tonight.

This is the main road from Juan Santamaría airport and Alajuela. The Consejo Nacional de Vialidad is shutting down the roadway at 10 p.m. today, and if all goes well, the road will be re-opened at 5 a.m.. The plan is to pour a deck of quick-dry concrete over the notorious bridge.

If all does not go well, motorists may be faced with a double whammy. The Circunvalación remains closed due to a collapsed roadway. The General Cañas has been a major link for those who normally would take the Circunvalación, the southern bypass route.

If road workers have to keep the highway closed through the morning rush hour Tuesday,  access to San José and from San José to points west will be seriously restricted.

Already secondary roads, like the route through Heredia and the back roads through La Sabana are choked full of vehicles all day. The San José-Caldera highway would remain the only major route that is open.

The bridge is the one that has been called the La Patina after the steel joints or plates that continually are coming loose. That has been going on since 2009. Periodically the road agency takes steps to fix the four-lane bridge only to see the efforts fail a few days later. The Ministerio de Obras Públicas y Transportes has even gone so far as to suggest building a new bridge. The support for the bridge is too flexible and concrete put on top breaks up because of the movement. More recently the bridge concrete has broken up to the extent that the rebar  is visible.

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