QCOSTARICA – The 21 km extension, better yet, expansion, of the Interamericana Norte highway between Limonal and Cañas should be delivered, if no further extensions are approved, in April 2021.
Originally, the work that began in September 2018, had to be completed within 24 months; In other words, it was to have had to be ready two months ago.
However, to date the progress of the works is at 52%; At the same time, the contractor has received orders to modify the contract equivalent to 209 days due to rains, expropriations and delays in the transfer of public services.
This is reflected in a report from the Audit of the Ministry of Public Works and Transport (MOPT) presented last month; in which it is indicated that a total of five extensions have been approved.
The document indicates that 45% (95 days) of the total of approved compensable days correspond to adverse weather conditions that occurred from May to November 2019.
The remaining 55% (114 days) were granted due to delays in obtaining the logging permit, errors in the coordinates used in the project plans, and impact due to delays in expropriations.
On the subject of expropriations; The document draws the attention of the executing unit, since only 51 lands have been registered in the name of the state, which represents 31% of the required properties.
In addition, there are 22 processes canceled or suspended and 90 pending.
In addition, the DABI (Department of Acquisition of Real Estate), in August 2020, said it is not possible to specify by when all the properties would be held in the name of the State, because “the final phases for the culmination of the expropriation process depends on entities external to the Ministry”.
And it adds that “considering that there are approximately 6 months to go until the project is finished and there are 90 expropriation processes in process, it is unknown what mechanisms will be applied to increase the number of properties in the name of the State, in order to have the properties in a timely manner”.
Aside from the foregoing, the National Laboratory of Materials and Structural Models (Lanamme) also carried out a series of preliminary evaluations to determine the quality of the materials and the construction processes that are being carried out in the project.
In the reports, deficiencies were pointed out, such as the fact that there are very high slopes on the sides of the road without there being any safety measures to prevent traffic accidents due to this cause.
Also, some gabion walls built in the project do not meet ideal conditions.
The Lanamme also evidenced non-compliance in the strength parameters of the concrete used.
The previous week, the MOPT reported that in order to speed up the work carried out on the 21 km of the route, a paving train was used to lay the pavement.
As explained by the Deputy Minister of Infrastructure, Tomás Figueroa, this equipment is composed of a self-propelled paver that allows the concrete slab to be shaped continuously, in addition to a self-propelled texturizer finishes the slabs in a homogeneous way and that guarantees safety during the break-in, and joint cutting equipment.
In addition, the paving train has a segment inserter, which are the bars that join each slab, as well as the steel tie bars that reinforce the concrete.
The expansion of the 21 km has a cost of US$89.8 million dollars and is financed by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) as part of the Transportation Infrastructure Program.
The project includes the reconstruction of the existing two-lane road to a four-lane, the construction of the Limonal interchange, the demolition of the existing and the construction of five new four-lane bridges, two new three-lane bridges, eight overhead pedestrian bridges, and 18 wildlife crossings.
The Cañas – Limonal expansion will continue the 50 km of the Cañas-Liberia section that was completed 2 years ago and the 71 km section of the Ruta 1 from Barranca (Puntarenas) to Limonal, which construction has yet to get underway.