Costa Rica has become a market of interest for construction companies in various parts of the world, who already developing public works for about US$840 million.
That has unleashed a strong competition for major public roads contracts.
The multimillion-dollar works agenda of recent years and the fall in investment in other markets is what has attracted companies from diverse backgrounds.
Though the competition is seen as positive, as companies strive to present better technical and financial offers, it also generates a legal fight in appeals (against the winning bids) that end up delaying the start of work, such as the Radial Lindora, the 2.2 km expansion from the Ruta 27 to the Virilla bridge.
The international interest, in turn, has taken its toll on local construction companies, to the point that only two companies, Meco and H. Solís, have survived the disputed market, the only two with current public road works projects at this time.
The national road construction and expansion market is currently of interest by Asian, European and Latin American companies.
In addition, there are representatives of several foreign construction companies following projects that are expected to be up for tender soon.
An example of this is that 24 companies have requested information on the US$200 million project to extend the section of the Interamerican Norte (Ruta 1) between Barranca (Puntarenas) and Limonal and the La Angostura (from Ruta 1 to Puntarenas) project where bidding is expected to start next month, confirmed Rodolfo Méndez, the Minister of Public Works (MOPT).
The strategies used by construction companies in search of success in winning bids are varied; ranging from solo participation to the creation of consortia between local companies or between national and foreign.
The current public roads construction and expansion is divided up between the CHEC, of Chinese capital for US$495 million; Avzi, a Spanish company (US$117 million); Meco, a Costa Rican company (US$43 million) and the consortiums, Estrella – H. Solís, Dominic Republic and Costa Rican company (US$163 million); and Meco – Puentes y Calzadas, Costa Rican and Spanish (US$22 million).
Four new public works that will soon be out for tender that has unleashed the interest of companies from all over the word include:
- Barranca-Limonal / La Angostura Expansion to four lanes in Interamericana Norte and access to Puntarenas
- The intersection in Cartago – the four-level overpass in Taras-La Lima
- La Bandera overpass in front of the UCR Law School
- Radial Lindora extension of the 2.2 kilometers in Santa Ana (the awarded tender is under appeal)
The interest and competition of international companies in Costa Rica’s road projects is seen as positive, as long as it is guaranteed that all companies are subject to local legislation.