In the waning weeks of her term as chief executive, Presidenta Laura Chinchilla has signed contracts for enlarging irrigation canals in Guanacaste and for cloverleaf junctions on the northern Panamerican Highway at Cañas, Bagaces and Liberia.

Photo for illustrative purposes of the condition of some roads in Costa Rica.
Photo for illustrative purposes of the condition of some roads in Costa Rica. Photo courtesy of

This is part of the widening of the highway to four lanes. Also at the signing ceremony was Minister of Public Works Pedro Castro, Vice President Luis Liberman, Conavi highway agency and Interamerican Development Bank representatives.

A MOPT (public works agency) press release notes that the work will cost US$30 million and will complete the widening of the highway. The Spanish firm Puentes y Calzadas SLU will be in charge of both design, which will take six months, and actual construction, another 24 months.

The highway widening is now 60% finished. It includes improving drainage and asphalt, construction of culverts and numerous other points under the charge of the FCC construction firm. The work on the Canas-Liberia 42 kilometer stretch will make traffic more fluid and less tiring for drivers.

The enlargement of the irrigation canals will cost about $13.8 million financed by the Central American Economic Development Bank and the Costa Rica government. The tropical lowlands of the Arenal-Tempisque Irrigation District receives little rainfall during the average dry season and is necessary for farmers.

The work is expected to benefit some 160 families who depend on crops and cattle for their livelihood. It will put an additional 8,800 hectares of the country under irrigation, the government says. This is important; in 2011, the country suffered a severe drought that was economically stressful to ranchers.

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