RICO’s TICO BULL – Despite the tremendous congestion, in both directions, caused by the works in the area of the Firestone plant on the Autopista General Cañas, the government will not suspend the collection of the tolls.
So, drivers not only face the stress of sitting in traffic on the main route between Alajuela and San Jose, they have to shell out the tolls on the San Jose bound lanes, which in themselves cause even more congestion.
Last week, the highway, if you can call that, was reduced to three lanes, alternating, two in one direction and one in the other, depending on the time of day.
On Wednesday, traffic Alajuela – San Jose bound was backed up to almost the airport. Since I got on the highway at the Ceverceria, I could not tell how far backed up it was before the construction site on the San Jose – Alajuela bound, though did get caught in the usual congestion at the toll booths that now cost ¢275 colones (up from ¢75) for light vehicles and motorcycles.
No Quick pass in place here. It’s cash only. I try to have correct change, have even handed over a ¢500 coin and not accepting change. I know where my coins have been, not of the others.
Now, for the reason why the toll charges continue: the Fideicomiso Ruta Uno, the office in charge of the project to expand the highway between San José and San Ramón, said it needs the collections to be able to finance the expansion of the highway.
Be dammed the drivers
I can accept the congestion, try to avoid it if I can by using an alternate route or time, but not the grab without compassion of the government agency. At least install the f***g Quick Pass.
The Fidecomiso says it needs the money for the expropriations, human resettlements and relocation of services, as well as several of the so-called non-postponable works, that must be financed with the resources (tolls charges) on the road.
Lest no forget that a decade ago the government spent, wasted, some US$40 million dollars in paying a fine for a canceled contract for the same work, on the same road, with the same problems, the Fidecomiso is managing.
Hadda Muñoz, director of the Fidecomiso explained it this way: “The main damage that this measure would cause is for the user because the Fidecomiso Ruta Uno would not receive profits from the toll rates because, by virtue of the guiding principles established by Law 9292, the fee structure of the Fidecomiso recently approved by the Aresep is based on a service at cost to the user”.
To me, that is like holding up the finger and telling me to pay up and shut up. Not our problem the congestion that is going to be with us drivers to the end of the year.
Need to get to the airport?
If you need to get to the airport from San Jose city, expect congestion and allow additional time so as not to miss your flight.
The alternatives from San Jose city is the Ruta 27 to Lindora then weave your way through Belen and out at the Cerveceria; or to Coyol, then back to the airport. In the former, expect congestion on the Radial Lindora, the latter, on the 27 itself in Santa Ana, and the bridge construction on the Ruta 1 west of the airport.
The other is by way of Heredia. Best is to get your Waze on (Google is useless) to guide you through the various ways of circumventing the Firestone works project.