(QCOSTARICA) Next year, 2016, the Greater Metrolopitan Area of San Jose (GAM) will have train level crossings, says Diego Rugama, of the Traffic Department of the Ministry of Public Works and Transportation (Departamento de Semáforos del Ministerio de Obras Públicas y Transportes – MOPT).
The officials says that by July 20 of this year, the Consejo de Seguridad Vial (Cosevi) expects to tender bids for security systems that includes bells and flashing lights at 87 intersections, and level crossings at 73.
Rugama said, if the tender process goes as planned, construction could start as early as January 2016 and the winning bidder has 300 days to complete the work.
The official added that the new level crossings will not be similar to that installed last week in La Sabana, the first in the country. The level crossings will not be connected to the traffic lights system, activated only by an approaching train.
According to the chief of the traffic police (Policia de Transito), Mario Calderon, in San Jose there are on average eight traffic accidents monthly involving the train, while in Heredia and Cartago, three each.
Guillermo Santana, head of the Costa Rican Railway, the Instituto Costarricense de Ferrocarriles (Incofer), said the collisions have not only an economic impact on the railway, but a direct impact on users, who suffer injuries and delays in service.
Santana added that while the level crossings are great in high traffic areas, he acknowledged that the better solution would be to build overpasses, allowing the train to circulate and not become another factor in the growing chaos in traffic conditions.