Wednesday 8 February 2023

Blame the drivers: It’s not the posts, but the lack of road safety education

Several of the flexible delineator posts on the Ruta 32 didn't last more than one day

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8 February 2023 - At The Banks - BCCR

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(QCOSTARICA) The installment of the flexible delineator folding posts on the Ruta 32, at a cost of ¢177 million colones Sunday morning is failing again, as it did five years ago.

Despite the fact that the Ministry of Transport assured that a U.S. laboratory certified the posts to withstand up to 200 hits by passenger vehicles traveling at 96 km/h, within hours of their placement, several of the new posts were downed.

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The 2,400 posts were installed from the San Isidro de Heredia toll booths to Rio Frio, Guapiles, one of the most dangerous section of the Ruta 32, as it winds through the mountain rainforest of the Braulio Carrillo National Park.

Transito (traffic officer) Danny Mora Castro, who has worked for this section of the highway for the last five years assures that the real problem is the recklessness of the drivers.

“The problem is not the folding posts, but the lack of road education of drivers. Each of the posts is supposed to withstand 200 hits, but in reality, they should not receive a single one because people should respect the signs.

“Many truck drivers pass this route and a blow from a light car is not the same as a hit from a heavy vehicle, they can pull them (from their base) at the first hit,” said the officer.

Avoiding fatal accidents

It is indisputable that the plastic post dividers do save lives, preventing vehicles crossing the median under tight curves that are common from the Zurqui tunnel and the base of the mountain.

Transito Mora is a witness that they do.

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“Many drivers think twice before overtaking (another vehicle) where they should not because of the posts,” he said.

Transito Juan Carlos Vásquez, who worked on that same highway, shares Mora’s opinion.

“In 2015, when they put up the posts for the first time, they greatly reduced accidents, in fact, they do fulfill the function of reducing overtaking, those posts save lives. People who pass by have more respect (for the road) when they see them,” said Vasquez.

Five years ago, the MMOPT was billed ¢223 million colones for installing the posts and marking the road.

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One year after their placement, 31 out of every 100 posts were damaged, so the MOPT withheld payments totaling ¢135 million colones to the company.

It happened again

On Monday (September 21), work crews doing a road inspection found that, apparently, the posts knocked over had not stuck well to the road surface.

In addition, at least one of the posts came apart when pulled from its base.

Transport authorities said the company in charge of installing the has already begun replacing the damaged ones.

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