Tuesday 3 October 2023

Ruta 2 in the area of Cerre de la Muerte closure indefinite

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03 October 2023 - At The Banks - Source: BCCR

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QCOSTARICA – The Ministry of Public Works and Transportation (MOPT) confirmed that the closure of Ruta 2m the Interamerican South, through the Cerro de la Muerte, in La Hortensia sector, is indefinite, due to the magnitude of the landslides in the area.

Cerro de la Muerte, La Hortensia sector

According to Juan Carlos Calderón, from MOPT emergencies, the cleaning tasks are complicated because the slope has a lot of water.

“There is no scheduled date to enable the road, it has a lot of water and that makes the material ‘chocolaty’ and makes it impossible to work faster,” he explained.

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Eight trucks, two excavators, a backhoe, and a large loader are working the area, however, the machinery is unable to properly work the area, with slippery conditions and risks of skids.

“The situation is complicated, in addition to the water that comes down from the mountain, the conditions in the place are rainy and cloudy, coupled with the fact that the machinery slips, it is dangerous,” Calderón stressed.

Cerro de la Muerte, La Hortensia sector

Regarding the magnitude of the material that fell, authorities say that it is difficult to determine because the water spreads it.

In addition to La Hortensia sector, there is another landslide in the area at La Auxiliadora, with similar characteristics that further complicates the progress of the cleanup.

Cerro de la Muerte, La Hortensia sector

Alternate route

Given this situation of indefinite closure in the Cerro de la Muerte, one of the alternate routes to the South is Ruta 34, through the greater metropolitan area, on the Ruta 27, with its own problems, along the Costanera.

“That route (34) is the only alternative to get to Pérez Zeledón, then on national route 234 through Dominical. We keep it under surveillance to guarantee the passage of vehicles,” clarified the MOPT.

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Progress was also made in cleaning up the Palmar Norte-Paso Real sector, where a landslide forced the closure of the road, where passage is down to one lane. Articulated trucks are not permitted on the Ruta 234 as they cannot make the turns through the narrow winding road. This Tuesday with the help of the Fire Department, the two lanes on Route 34 were enabled precisely in the Tárcoles sector.

Other routes

The Cerro de La Muerte joins another closed route, the Ruta 1 (Interamerican Norte) in the Cambronero sector, which also maintains an indefinite closure.

Other routes such as in Esparza have their own issues affecting driving conditiosn on the Ruta 1

The “Cambronero” has been closed since August 17, when a landslide dragged a bus and a motorcycle, leaving nine people dead.

The Minister of the MOPT, Luis Amador, has in the last week said they are trying to have the road reopened by mid-December.

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“An unpredictability, in general, lasts three to four months while the start order is given. In the meantime, we will have to make an assessment. This is because at one of those points the lane was completely gone and the second is going,’ explained the MOPT head.

Impact of Julia

According to the MOPT Minister, the impact of heavy rains due to the indirect effect of Julia has authorities assessing the new circumstances in the area.

“I am waiting for the geologists to provide the final report. Analyzed the situation and with the green light, a lane with regulated passage could be enabled,” said Amador.

Route 32 remains open, for now. Another of the major routes affected by the weather conditions.

“No night closures are being carried out as long as the road conditions allow it,” said the Minister.


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