QCOSTARICA – The emergency due to the rains that have occurred in much of the country since Thursday, took the Ministry of Public Works and Transportation (MOPT) without conservation contracts and with a tight budget.
Given this scenario, that ministry had to use its own equipment and the support of the municipalities to enable the passage through the roads that have been affected by landslides, floods or undermined bridges.
According to the MOPT chief, Rodolfo Méndez Mata, until this Friday afternoon events it had been attending to situations with the institution’s machinery and personnel, however, they still have to assess the largest damages.
“Once the waters recede we have two main tasks. One is attention to rivers. The ministry has shovels and has the capacity to rent additional machinery and so does the Emergency Commission. So there we are getting ready to resolve when the water goes down, to see how we reestablish the channels. There is significant damage in several places,” explained the minister.
After this first attention phase, the National Highway Council (Conavi) will enter through contracts of unpredictability (awards that are made directly) to reestablish roads that have suffered structural damage such as cracking, subsidence or collapse of sewers and gutters, among others.
“Right now we are concentrating on the first impact. Once the water levels drop, the damage to the bridges can be seen more precisely. Many are going to require geotechnical work,” he added.
The most important damages so far are estimated is to bridge structures and pavement washing away.
In the case of collapses, the work is concentrated on cleaning passasge and it will be until studies are carried out at these points that the magnitude of the work required to recover the roads can be determined.
According to the minister, the point where they have registered one of the most serious damages is in the bridge over the La Estrella river, on route 36 that communicates Limón center with the communities of the southern Caribbean.
Currently, the Conavi does not have maintenance contracts due to the fact that contracts expired and later the MOPT decided not to renew them following the scandal of alleged corruption in road works, known as the “Cochinilla case”, that led to the arrest of more than 30 people within the Conavi and the owners of two of the largest road works construction companies in the country, MECO and H Solís.