18 months after having started the expansion of the Ruta 32 (San Jose – Limon), the Ministerio de Obras Publicas y Transporters (MOPT) – Ministry of Public Works and Transportation – is still looking to reduce the number of lands that the contractor will need to complete the road work.
In fact, the government has yet to even complete one of the possible 1,200 expropriations required to complete the 107 kilometers between the Rio Frio intersection in Guapiles and the city of Limon.
According to the information released on Monday, 150 cases are currently being processed and another 1,050 are still in the preparation and analysis phase.
In addition, the MOPT has asked the China Harbor Engineering Company (CHEC) the is carrying out the road work to modify the designs so that they conform as much as possible to the existing right-of-way. In other words, reduce the number of expropriations and effectively reduce any possible delays and outlay of money.
Meanwhile, the head of the Consejo Nacional de Vialidad (CONAVI) – National Road Council, Mario Rodriguez, said they believe that the expropriations will not become an obstacle. At least so far it has not been a problem.
In addition, he said that the latest amendment to the law of expropriations will allow the cases to be processed more quickly because the State can take possession of the property while the government and owner of the land work out the value of the expropriated lands.
In the past, the valuation process would bring a project to a halt while the two sides argue the case through the courts.
In a summary on the progress of the project, the MOPT on Monday said currently 19 of the 33 bridges to be built have a 40% progress. These are structures that are located in Matina, Pococí, Guácimo and Siquirres.
In addition, the company must carry out works on the existing bridges, which work will begin once all the new bridges have been built.
The project also calls for 13 overpasses, of which work has only begun on one in the area of Guácimo. The project also requires work on the oil pipeline that runs along the Ruta 32, power lines by the Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad (ICE) and water and sewer mains by the Acueductos y Alcantarillados (AyA).
The Chinese contractor must also build the intersections at Rio Frío, Guápiles, Siquirres and in the access to the Container Terminal in Moín.
Work on the road expansion began in November 2017, with a contracted construction period of 34 months.
February last, Zhou Jingxiong, the head of the CHEC company, in an interview with La Nacion
in February, said an extension of the contract will be inevitable given that only 6% of the work has been carried out in less than one-third of the term.
In the interview, Zhou said that the delays in the work are due, among other things, that when they received the order to start they did not have all the conditions to start working and then the Government added extra work that will demand more time.
The original contract was for US$465 million dollars, increasing to US$505 million with additional work requests. The work is being financed by US$100 million dollars from the government and the balance by way of a loan by the Eximbank.