Road agency serving up another dose of driving frustration

Get ready for more lost time, more late arrivals to work and a spike in the frustration index.

Traffic officials have reduced the single-lane bridges over the Circunvalación washout from four to three.

They did that so prefabricated girders could be placed for a new bridge.

This is the washout that took place in August and eventually led to the closing of the key four-lane highway. The resulting delays caused millions in lost time, expended fuel and unproductive work hours.

Fixing the job is a $6.3 million project.  The job is in the hands of  CODOCSA/Productos de Concreto. Workmen began removing one of the bailey bridges over the weekend. So traffic is now reduced to three lanes.

The bailey bridges created a jam because large sheets of steel were placed on the roadway, and motorists tried to pass over them gingerly.

The girders are going down where the bridge had been.

Saturday the situation gets worse. The road will be closed to traffic from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. while another temporary bridge is removed, and then until March 1 there will just be two one-lane bridges. Traffic is expected to be jammed for miles on each side of the washout.

The Ministerio de Obras Públicas y Transportes and the Consejo Nacional de Vialidad said that by March 2 there should be four bridges, two permanent ones and two of the remaining temporary ones on the westbound lanes.

The washout site is between Hatillo 8 and the Pavas turnoff. The Río María Aguilar has eroded the soil below the highway.

The Circunvalación is a bypass route south of the San José city center. The road agency, the Consejo Nacional de Vialidad, closed down westbound lanes of the Circunvalación Aug. 27 when it became obvious that the river was undermining the road.

Workers hurried to erect four temporary bailey bridges to handle traffic. But the bridges also became undermined.

The central government closed the highway in mid-September because of the failure of the temporary bridges. Workmen then began erecting steel walls and pouring more concrete to host the temporary bridges and to prepare for a permanent fix.

When traffic is jammed on the Circunvalación motorists seek out alternate routes resulting in a city-wide traffic jam.

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