The section or Ruta 1  between Alajuela and San José known as the autopista General Cañas, once again is a nightmare for thousands of drivers, when on Tuesday a 85 ton moving crane collapsed one of the two Bailey bridges on the busiest road in the country.

The moving crane was headed eastbound (Alajuela – San José) on the autopista when the Bailey bridge collapsed under the weight of the heavy vehicle. The bridge was installed last June when a sinkhole tore apart a section of the highway in the area of Los Arcos in Cariari.

The driver, Alberto Marín, was not injured in the accident nor any of the workers working below the bridge.

The General Cañas, the major route to San José to and from the international airport, will be closed until next Tuesday.

Tuesday morning a moving crane in the Alajuela – San José direction brought down one of the Bailey bridges erected on the autopista. Transport officials say the San José bound lanes will re-open in a week, at 5am Tuesday.

Despite the lack of signage with respect to weight limits on the bridge, the Director del CONAVI, Jose Luis Salas, says the driver of the crane should have known he could not move such a heavy vehicle over the Bailey.

“We have repeatedly reported that the bridge cannot stand much weight”, said Salas. The minister of Obras Públicas y Transportes (MOPT), Pedro Castro, said the transport department has no responsibility for the incident and “despite the lack of signage, the driver should have known not to pass through here. He is bound by law to know”.

Both officials said the MOPT and CONAVI are not to be held responsible and will seek ways for the owner of the moving crane to compensate the government.

But who will compensate the drivers affected by the closure who now have to find alternate routes to an already overburdened failing infrastructure?

The driver of the crane was issued a ¢94.000 colones (US$190) ticket, the maximum fine as per Article 145 of Ley de Tránsito (Traffic Code) for operating an overweight vehicle without a permit on public roads.  The owner of the crane, Diego Quirós, assures that the vehicle is (was) in good mechanical condition and has in the past crossed Bailey Bridges without incident.

Alternate Routes:
1. Ruta 106 San José to Lagunilla de Heredia. Exit at Plaza Real Cariari head for San José by way Heredia through La Cañada to gas station ahead of the Riteve, right, over the Bailey and back onto the General Cañas

2. At the EPA take the road to Belén to Santa Ana and onto the Ruta 27 (San José – Caldera)

3. If you west of the international airport, exit at Coyol to the Ruta 27.

The San José – Alajuela direction is open.