(QCOSTARICA) Following days of violent protests that included a confrontation with police, road blocks and burning of tires, the Minister of Public Works and Transportation (MOPT), Carlos Segnini, on Friday said work on the 24 kilometre road between Paquera and Naranjo will start on Wednesday.
The announcement came after a meeting between the Minister and the residents of Paquera, Lepanto and Cobano, with the intervention of Juan Manuel Cordero, deputy Ombudsman and several legislators of the region.
Segnini stressed the work will commence if and only if the blockades and protests stop.
The near riots started on Wednesday, July 1, when a group of local residents blockaded the main route between the Puntarenas ferry dock at Paquera and Tambor, Cobano, Montezuma and Santa Teresa, among other beach towns favourite of locals and tourists.
By noon that day (Wednesday) police in riot gear were called in.
At the start of the protests Segnini had strong words against the protests, saying residents were being misled by local politicians to score points for the upcomingmunicipal elections. President Luis Guillermo Solis chastised the protestors for taking away much need police resources from the relief efforts in the Caribbean zone.
By Thursday afternoon the emotions had calmed down and cooler heads prevailed.
Minister Segnini assured the communities that the financing for the work is in place, financed with funds from the Interamerican Development Bank (IDB), approved by the legislature last year and explained thatthe delays in the work are mired in problems with compliance processes of environmental viability, the expropriation of 188 strips of land and design tenders, among others.
The work planned for next is to lay a gravel base while the rest of the processes are completed.
The agreement includes the MOPT delivering by July 17, a road maintenance schedule. The Ombudsman’s office will be responsible to follow-up on the agreement.