COSTA RICA NEWS – The construction of two new lanes – one in each direction – on the bridge over the Virilla river known as “La Platina” will begin in November, this after the directors of the Consejo Nacional de Vialidad (CONAVI) this week approved the expansion of the structure.
The ministro de Obras Públicas y Transportes (MOPT), Carlos Segnini, explained that the rehabilitation work on the foundations of the bridge that began last October was stopped last month, while the ministry evaluated the construction of additional lanes.
The Laboratorio Nacional de Materiales y Modelos Estructurales (Lanamme) of the Universidad de Costa Rica (UCR), last month submitted an analysis to the CONAVI, detailing how the bridge could be expanded while taking advantage of the ongoing rehabilitation work.
While the CONAVI is saying a November start date, the actual start is subject to the Contraloría General de la República (CGR) – Comptroller General’s office – approval of an extra¢1.5 billion colones for cost of the expansion work on the autopista General Cañas.
The Virilla bridge has been a headache for drivers and the MOPT for more than five years.
It was in 2009 when transport officials found that the bridge was suffering structural stress and required immediate repairs.
The first repair job, at a cost of ¢600 million colones was in mid 2009. The work involved closing the gap between the metal plates (hence “platina”) expansion joints. The repair failed. A months later, there was another attempt to repair the gap. That repair didn’t last 24 hours.
In 2010, the MOPT invested another ¢2 billion colones to replace the surface slab, which began to crack in less than a month in use. The repair work took months to complete, causing massive traffic congestion on both sides of the bridge. One worker died during, caused by a drunk driver losing control of his vehicle.
Last year, in October 2013, and the third attempt at repairing the strucuture, rehabiliation work began beneath the bridge, with a budget of ¢4.5 billion colones. The work was to have been completed in November.
Source: CONAVI; MOPT