Six bridges to be installed on controversial Ruta 1856

Bailey bridges are coming to the rescue once again.

Most expats remember those collapsing bridges on Ruta 1856 that parallels the Río San Juan at the northern border of the country.

The contracts hired locally to build the highway using shipping containers, logs and just about anything they could find to make bridges over various streams, rivers and ditches. The badly engineered bridges began to fail quickly.

The construction was a scandal, and criminal investigations are going on.

The Ministerio de Obras Públicas y Transportes, which has taken over the job, said Thursday that six metal bridges will be installed along the route at a cost of 2.5 billion colons, about $4.6 million. The supplier was identified as the Waarner Biro Bridge Systems.

Constructora Meco, S.A. will install the concrete footings for the bridges.

The highway was a hurry-up job after Nicaraguan troops invaded a portion of Costa Rica. Without the road the only method of transportation in the northern zone is by river, and Nicaragua owns that.

Four other bridges have been designed by the ministry workers and will be developed as prototypes, the ministry said.

The highway is designated 1856 because that is the year Costa Rica went to war to fight U.S. filibusters William Walker who had taken over Nicaragua. The name was designed to mock Nicaraguan officials because of the invasions.

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