QCOSTARICA – A total of 79 bridges across the country don’t have a single road safety measure. They lack guard rails, sidewalks, lighting and markings, among other items.
This is the results from an investigation by the Instituto Tecnológico de Costa Rica (ITCR) – Technological Institute of Costa Rica, called iBridge.
The technical team says it inspected 159 structures, of which half failed to meet safety standards.
Some of these bridges have been the scene of fatal traffic accidents, says the ITCR report.
One of those is the bridge over the Tarcolitos river, in Garabito (near Jacó), where in May 2014 four friends died when their car lost control on the bridge and fell into the river due to a lack of a guard rail.
Giannina Ortiz, engineer at the Centro de Investigación en Vivienda y Construcción (Research Center in housing and construction) at the ITCR and part of the iBridge program, told La Naion, the figure is alarming given that many of the bridges are located in high-traffic routes.
The Consejo Nacional de Vialidad (Conavi) – national highway council – agrees that most of bridges lack safety elements and that the current road maintenance contracts do not include repairs of bridges, only their cleaning.
Conavi engineer, Carlos Villata, says they are working on a designing a bridge maintenance program.
There are some 8.200 bridges in Costa Rica, 7.000 of which are on national roads and 1.200 in municipal or local routes.