The ferry could return to cross the waters of the Tempisque River, one of the options being analyzed by the Consejo Nacional de Vialidad (Conavi) – National Road Council, to maintain the connection between Cañas and Nicoya, due to the planned two-month closure of the La Amistad bridge.
For some 30 years, the ferry was the only way to cross the Tempisque to get to Nicoya and south Guanacaste beaches without having to make the trip to Liberia and back down.
The ferry service was discontinued when the bridge was inaugurated in April 2013.
Sixteen years later, the bridge, which has seen little in the way of maintenance and suffered damage from the September 5, 2012, earthquake, is due for a badly needed overhaul.
The Conavi estimates that the work will take about two months, requiring a complete closure.
“We have to finish solving technical issues, we are finishing planning everything. We hope at some point next year to say that we are ready and we will do it when we have an alternative, because we have to close the bridge for two months so we are seeing if we can return to the old system of a ferry, that This is what we are studying and thinking about the best option,” Conavi CEO Mario Rodríguez told AmeliaRueda.com.
The Conavi won’t just yet commit to a date to start the work, only saying it will be next year.
What they do tell us is that the design of the repair of the bridge is being worked in conjunction with the experts of the Technological Institute of Costa Rica (TEC) and the National Laboratory of Structural Materials and Models (Lanamme), who for years have called attention to the Conavi authorities on the wear and tear that the structure has been suffering in the absence of maintenance.
For example, reports prepared in 2014 and 2016 by the Lanamme, called the attention of the authorities for the damage to the bridge.
There have also been warnings derived from vandalism that over the years has affected the structure due to theft of different parts such as bolts and metal railings.
The original name of the 780-meter long bridge was the Puente La Amistad de Taiwán (“Taiwan Friendship Bridge”), a donation from Taiwan to Costa Rica.
The bridge has been known colloquially as Puente de la Apuñalada (Backstab Bridge) since former Costa Rican President Óscar Arias, during his second term (2006-2010) cut off relations with Taiwan in favour of China.