QCOSTARICA – Gas stations, condominiums, shopping centres, banks, business parks, convention centres and supermarkets are among the 40 projects waiting, waiting for the Consejo Nacional de Vialidad (Conavi) to approve access permits.
The projects are all located on one of the 12 national roads regulated by decree, where developers must make a number of improvements before starting (or completing) construction.
The regulation aims to reduce the impact of new construction on traffic flow on these roads.
However, not all projects have to obtain Conavi permits. Two recent examples are the El Rey retail store and Fill-Go gas station (across from Multiplaza) on the Ruta 27.
Benjamin Sandio, who headed the Comisión de Accesos Restringidos (CCAR) of the Conavi up to 15 days ago, told La Nacion, “if they are operating, they are doing so illegally.”
The process of obtaining permits is a complicated one. Some developers roll the dice, move forward with their project and then try to negotiate access later. Some win, others lose.
One case is the Lindora Park project on the “Lindora Radia”. This project, an office building complex already build and paralyzed by access problems.
The same road, from the Santa Ana crossing at the Ruta 27 and the Virilla bridge 2 kilometres north, is also an fine example of a failed regulation. On peak hours (almost any hour of the day, including weekends) it can take more than 30 minutes to travel at peak hours.
The infamous project that was once the Machu Picchu restaurant on the Ruta 27 (halfway up the hill between Santa Ana and Guachipelin) comes to mind, a development without legal access forced closed, shutting down the restaurant and killing. That was several years ago. Since, the project now has access, whose legality cannot be confirmed, but the building is a dead spot.
Back to Fill-Go. Erick Zamora told La Nacion they have all the permits of law, but acknowledged “there is a process to build an access”.
In Alajuela, the developers of what is to be the largest shopping centre in the country, City Mall, they filed for permits back in 2013, obtaining it only this past July.
The mall, who had scheduled an October opening is currently underway to build an access to the commercial centre, work that includes the construction of a bridges and an underpass.
Leonel Fioli, director of the City Mall project, told La Nacion, “the development of infrastructure is strategic and the country get stuck in the face of opportunities.”