Back in 2009, the so-called Platina bridge was a joke. By now the inability of the government to make permanent repairs has turned it into a financial black hole.
The concrete deck of the bridge gave way again Thursday leaving a hole in the eastbound lanes. Officials plan to close the bridge Tuesday and Thursday nights for repairs. The bridge was closed overnight into this morning while workers installed a metal plate over the hole.
The initial effort to put a wood panel on the hole only lasted a short time Thursday afternoon.
Naturally, there were major traffic jams.
The government has reinforced the underside of the bridge in anticipation of widening it to three lanes in each direction. The Autopista General Cañas is three lanes on either side, so the
bridge is a choke point for traffic. There are plans to resurface the entire bridge at the end of the year.
The best the traffic police could do Thursday was to put up some cones and an orange plastic barrier over the hole.
But motorists had more to worry about Thursday than the bridge over the Río Virilla. There were heavy afternoon rains in some sections. Avenida Segunda near the Fuente de Hispanidad in San Pedro was flooded and some vehicles stalled. There were some accidents on the Circunvalación to which rain may have contributed.
The central government has begun allowing public employees to report to work in shifts with the goal of reducing peak hour jams. But the initial result is that the jams are now prolonged. The first shift begins at 6:30 a.m. Some workers also have the option to work just four days a week. There also is a bill in the legislature making provisions for telecommuting. President Luis Guillermo Solís urged motorists to have patience.