Work has begun again on the Río Virilla bridge that carried the Autopista General Cañas west of San José. This is the infamous platina bridge that has defied repairs since 2009.
The $14 million project involves strengthening the existing bridge and adding a third lane on each side. The money comes from the Banco Centroamericano de Integración Económica.
For the next eight months, the work will be under the bridge and there will be no interruption of traffic, promised Carlos Villalta Villegas, minister of Obras Públicas y Transportes. The entire job is expected to take a year.
The contractor suspended work after completing about 90 percent of the reinforcements under the bridge. There was a dispute over additional expenses. Basically work crews built another bridge underneath.
The bridge began developing cracks in 2009 and a metal plate was installed over an expansion joint, hence the name platina.
The plate refused to stay flat after a handful of repair attempts. At one point the then-public works minister said a new bridge would have to be built. The consensus was that the bridge structure was too flexible.
The bridge has a key role in plans for additional highways coming from the capital.