Wednesday 27 September 2023

Viaduct would be a definitive solution for Ruta 27 with serious sinking problem

High risk of landslides on Route 27 would continue for four years; Expropriations delay repairs at 10 critical highway points. Concessionaire advances with two per year

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QCOSTARICA – Kilometer 44 on the Ruta 27 has been a problem since the first days of this important route between La Sabana in San Jose and the Puerto Caldera, in Puntarenas.

In January 2010, the long-awaited Ruta 27 was inaugurated. However, according to the records of the Laboratorio Nacional de Materiales y Modelos Estructurales (Lanname)  – National Laboratory of Materials and Structural Models, the problems with kilometer 44.5 of this road began in 2011, a year later, specifically due to the sinking that worsens more and more in that sector.

The subsidence that affects km 44 has not been solved, despite the fact that several interventions have been carried out in recent years. Photo: La Nacion / Joseph Cordero.

To this day, the subsidence that maintains a latent risk of total collapse has not been solved, despite the fact that several interventions have been carried out in recent years.

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Gustavo Badilla, an engineer from the Lanamme Geotechnical Engineering Program, explained that this second landslide is located about 100 meters from the one detected since 2011. The expert indicated that this second anomaly on the road was generated by the same fault that produced the first landslide, located almost from the beginning of the route’s operation.

On repeated occasions, the Lanamme warned that the solutions proposed by the road concessionaire, Ruta 27 Globalvía, to adequately address the problem, have been insufficient.

The yellow markings show the path of the crack on the surface. The red dot is the geotechnical monitoring location. Image from Lanamme

As a permanent solution, the Lanamme proposes the construction of a viaduc or a deep cut in the slope to carry out what is known as terracing to try to “lay down” the slope towards the mountain.

The viaduct and “lay down” of the slope proposals would solve the problem. From Casa Presidencial

But either option may be some time in the coming due to the cost and that it requires several expropriation procedures, which according to the technical secretary of the Consejo Nacional de Concesiones (CNC)  – National Council of Concessions, José Manuel Saénz, they are a responsibility of the State, not the concessionaire.

Saénz explained that despite the new expropriation law that allows the entry into possession of the land while resolving possible disagreements with the appraisal value by the owners, some cases stall in court.

Saénz added that reform intended that by depositing the amount of the State appraised value, the government can take possession and then deal with any challenges by the owners, however, there are judges who interpret the law differently and that is where you cannot start to fix the slope.

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Ruta 27 was inaugurated on January 27, 2010, and five months later, on May 24, a landslide claimed its first victim, Marlene Vanessa Briones Cruz, a 30-year-old mother of three, a 7 pm, when the motorcycle on which she was traveling with her partner crashed into a stone at kilometer 45.

Km 44.5 is one of the 10 slopes identified as being in critical condition. Ruta 27 Globalvia was only able to intervene on two in 2021. For this year, it estimates that it will be able to work on two or, in the best of cases, three more. This means that, at this rate, achieving optimal safety conditions along the 77-kilometer road, would take about four years.

At the moment, as a result of the closure of the Interamerican Norte (Ruta 1), at the height of Cambronero, after the fatal landslide on September 17, the only 2 routes authorized to travel to the Pacific are 27 (San José-Caldera) and Ruta 3 (Aguacate or the old road to Jacó) crossing mountains; passing through the famous area called Monte del Aguacate, ending in Orotina, and onto the Ruta 27. The latter is not suitable for heavy vehicles.

Unusual congestion on the Ruta 27 is now daily

Both alternate routes Interamericana Norte faced heavy congestion in recent days.

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And despite the closure of the only Ruta 1 at Cambronero and delays, the concessionaire maintains the collection of the tolls.


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"Rico" is the crazy mind behind the Q media websites, a series of online magazines where everything is Q! In these times of new normal, stay at home. Stay safe. Stay healthy.

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