July 4, 2025. That is the date proposed by the Ministerio de Obras Públicas y Transportes (MOPT) and the Consejo Nacional de Vialidad (Conavi) – Ministry of Public Works and Transportation and the National Road Council – for the completion of the works on the road to San Carlos between Ciudad Quesada and San Miguel de Naranjo, with link to the Bernardo Soto (San Ramón-San José) portion of Interamericana Norte (Ruta 1).
At least that is the contemplated completion date the transport authority gave the office of the Comptroller General (CGR) on Monday, September 2.
It’s been more than a decade since work on the project began. The construction of this road, that would considerably cut the travel time between San Jose and northern zone, has been mired with roadblocks after roadblocks, bringing work on the project to an almost standstill for the past year.
Between 2017 and 2018, the Comptroller’s office conditioned the authorization of more money for the works to the presentation of all the technical and financial support that will guarantee that the road will be concluded and will be driveable.
After almost a decade, the central section, between La Abundancia de Ciudad Quesada and Sifón de San Ramón, is over 80% complete at a cost of US$300 million dollars. Among the pending issues in the central section is solving the construction of the bridge over the Laguna River (the current one will be demolished due to geological faults), the sinking of kilometer 21 (occurred in August 2017) and the change of the route through the wetland La Culebra.
Other issues the MOPT must resolve is the financing provided by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) for the Sifón-Sucre sections, the extension of bridges and the southern tip (Sifón-San Miguel de Naranjo) that would be “tied” to the Bernardo Soto.
According to the latest timetable, the section La Abundancia-Altos de Sucre-Sifón would be completed in November 2024 and the southern tip would be completed in March of that year.
“It is a necessity (the road). The schedule establishes what things we have to do, how we have to do them, when we have to do them and we have tried to make that schedule as clearly as possible so that we all have the right expectations. That is a road that has to be completed,” said Mario Rodríguez, executive director of Conavi, in an interview with CRHoy.com last month.
The 44.6 kilometers road to San Carlos is composed of 3 totally independent and autonomous sections: north section (Florencia-Ciudad Quesada, already finished), central section (Ciudad Quesada-Sifón de San Ramón) and south section (Siphon-San Miguel de Naranjo), which is in the design stage.
In the coming weeks, based on the presentation, the CGR will decide on the matter regarding the possible authorization to continue the project.
Given the history of road construction in Costa Rica, the 2025 date may be just another pipe dream on the part of the MOPT and a continued illusion of public.