QCOSTARICA – Bailey bridges have been a lifeline for many a community in Costa Rica and the go to by the Ministerio de Obras Públicas y Transportes (MOPT) – Ministry of Public Works and Transportation – to enable the passage through rivers.
It is impossible to drive through communities, large or small, and not run into a bailey bridge, a type of portable, pre-fabricated, truss bridge, developed in 1940–1941 by the British for military use during the Second World War.
The MOPT has piles of these structures stacked in the Colima de Tibás, San José, plantel (yard), sitting there, but no one to install them, because, as the MOPT Minister, Luis Amador, recently told La Nacion, the MOPT employees who knew how to have retired and the Consejo Nacional de Vialidad (Conavi) – National Highway Council – does not have the resources to hire outsiders to do the work.
On July 4, Amador told La Nacion that the bridges were “deteriorating” and that he did not even know since when they have been there. Then, on July 12, he indicated that he issued the order that they be transferred to the places where they should be placed.
“The bridges have a specific destination and the order that the Conavi issued, on my motion, was that they be moved to the different sites and the installation proceeded because those bridges are not doing anything being stored,” said the Minister.
María Ramírez, direct of bridges at the MOPT, responded to La Nacion saying the responsibility to erect the Bailey’s is Conavi’s, but that it has not had its budget approved due to the “Cochinilla” (alleged corruption in road works) investigation, thus there are no resources to hire outsiders to do the work.
“They are assigned and they are not built, why are they not built? Because Conavi has to be assigned a budget to build them on site. You have to keep in mind that Conavi’s budget was not approved the previous year due to the Cochinilla scandal”, Ramirez claimed.
In San Carlos, responding to the ravages of Tropical Storm Bonnie, the private construction company Grupo HyM is carrying out the task of erecting temporary bridges in that community.
Amador said he instructed MOPT officials to closely observe the work being carried out by the private company so that they learn how the pieces are assembled.
“Yes, that is a problem, there is no budget for anything, not just for the bridges. That is the main problem, and the second problem is that the people inside the Ministry who knew how to build bridges are no longer here, they already retired and left, and the capacity is not there internally.
“So, with what is being set up right now in Santa Clara and Santa Rita (San Carlos), I asked that people from MOPT please be there so that they could.,” said the Minister.
The pieces in the Colima yard were purchased in 2016, as part of a purchase tender. Ramirez explained that when the temporary bridges are being installed, there are always pieces left over, and that is what is in storage in Tibas and that currently there is only one complete bailey bridge left to handle any emergencies during the 2022 rainy season and there is no money to buy more.
Complicating the purchase of more units is the purchasing process.
“The Conavi has a supply-on-demand contract for modular bridges, at the MOPT I cannot open a second contract for the same purpose, because it would be duplication. So, Conavi has how to buy the structures because it has contracted on demand, but it is a budget problem for Conavi. Already the mechanism to buy has it by an international public tender awarded; it is a question of how much budget Conavi has to buy structures and how much budget it has to install the structures that have already been assigned to projects”, Ramirez explained.
Adapted from La Nacion’s MOPT no puede poner puentes ‘bailey’ porque se pensionaron los funcionarios que sabían, dice ministro
For the benefit of transparency and to avoid distortions of the public, adaptation is a translation technique, necessary when something specific to one language culture is expressed in a totally different way that is familiar or appropriate to another language culture. While translation is simply about transferring content literally, adaptation is a creative translation method that makes the text culturally appropriate, accurate and understandable.