Last month, on February 8 (2019) to be precise, I had the occasion to drive to Monteverde. I hadn’t done the trip in almost a year to the day and didn’t really know what to expect.
Maybe the road was finished. Highly unlikely, but one can hope. From the Interamericana Norte or Ruta 1, from the gas station north of Cuenca, it is only 40 km. But it takes almost an hour to do the trip. And that is in good weather.
The road is great from the Ruta 1 to Gucimal, but the 17 km to Santa Elena can test your nerves.
The following photos I took will show you why.
More than a decade in the making
Come May of this year, the government of Carlos Alvarado is expected to have ready the tender for the completion of this section of the road, when last December the works became paralyzed after the Orosi company who had the contract, ran into financial problems after only completing 22% of the work.
The work on this important road to one of the most visited areas of the country began more than a decade ago, during the Oscar Arias Sanchez administration (2006 – 2010), when in 2007, the then Minister of Transport and Public Works (MOPT), Karla Gonzalez, promised to have the road done by 2009.
The ball was picked up in 2011 by the then new minister of the MOPT, Francisco Jimenez, who was more cautious with his promises, who faced with constant protests by area residents, assured work would be done to improve the condition of the gravel road.
In 2013, Pedro Castro took over the MOPT portfolio promised to find the money to pave the road. He didn’t last long. A year later, in 2014, Carlos Segnini, promised to start the paving by the following year. That never happened either.
It wouldn’t be until June 2017 when the Grupo Orosi construction company won the bid to pave the 17 kilometers, with the promise that it would be completed by September 2018. It never happened.
To be fair to the powers that be, it takes about two decades or more to get a road from start to finish. So, this project really is not behind schedule. In fact, it could be said that it is ahead of schedule, almost unheard of if the current MOPT minister is able to keep his promise to have the road done in the coming 18 months.