Q COSTA RICA – Traffic from Alajuela to San Jose on the autopista General Cañas will be affected with the complete closure of the over the Virilla river bridge or “Platina” from Saturday (January 7) morning to 5:00am Monday (January 9) morning.
Affected are only the Alajuela – San Jose lanes, but expect slow downs on the San Jose – Alajuela side.
The General Cañas is the major route into San Jose from the airport and other points west, a road built in the 1960s, starting as a four lane road converted to six lanes with the elimination of the shoulder and narrower lanes. The General Cañas traffic is almost 100,000 vehicles daily.
According to the Ministerio de Obras Públicas y Transportes (MOPT), the closure is required to continue installing trusses for the expansion of the bridge. Once the work on the Alajuela-San Jose direction is complete, the same will occur on the San Jose-Alajuela side of the structure.
Traffic from Alajuela to San Jose will be detoured at the EPA for heavy vehicles and at the Colegio Castella for all other vehicles. Traffic will then move through Heredia, past the Riteve station to Jardines del Recuerdo onto La Uruca, at the Pablo II bridge, where it will resume on the General Cañas.
An alternate route is the 27.
The decision for the closure to be on the weekend follows a decision by the contractor and MOPT closing the highway for a full day during the week and with short notice. MOPT minister Carlos Villalta assured that it had been an error in communication and such would be repeated.
Weeks earlier, Minister Villalta assured that if the work was not completed by February 28, he would resign. President Luis Guillermo Solis said he would accept the resignation.
The Platina bridge has been a thorn on the side for drivers since 2009, when a 4 inch gap in one of the expansion joints was noted. After several repair attempts and millions of dollars spend, the Platina was no better off, in fact worse, the MOPT using steel plates (platinas in Spanish) to cover up the gaping holes in middle of the structure.
Finally, it was decided that the bridge needed a full overhaul (not just a temporary fix) and with that came the decision to expand the bridge to six lanes from the current four.
The expansion falls in line in that for the most part the General Cañas is a six lane road, while two bridges – the Platina and the Rio Segundo (by the Cerveceria – brewery) remain four lanes, daily causing traffic congestion.
This latest repair and expansion comes with a price tag of ¢7.345 billion colones (US$14 million dollars).