What prevents Costa Rica from having a better road infrastructure?


Rico’s TICO BULL – I am an avid reader of Quora, a platform to ask questions and connect with people who contribute unique insights and quality answers. Quora, for me, is a place I go to gain and sometimes share knowledge.

Costa Rica is a popular topic on Quora. More than not interesting questions on Costa Rica come up. Like this one, What prevents Costa Rica from having better road infrastructure?

Currently, there are four answers to the question.


Fernando Madrigal Hidalgo, who lives in Costa Rica, answered:

“Hi I think it is bit of law mess (to expropriate takes years), also money limitations, Costa Rica is a small country that invest a lot in health and education, this limits government expending range. And the most important cause I guess is .. politicians, loans have to be approved by our “senate”, and this is almost impossible as political parties love to interfere with nation advance (very personal opinion).”

Xavier de Medici, High Profile Interior Designer, answered:

“Actually, I was just there and the roads, especially the highways were in pretty good condition and they are continuing to build more highways, I saw a lot of construction. What it used to take 6 hrs, you can do in 2 ( San Jose+ Manuel Antonio) it’s a developing country, but, you can see the progress they are doing.”

Enrique Segura, who lived in Costa Rica (1993-2015), answered:

“This is a hard question. I am inclined to say it’s a factor of government planning and government transparency. But I haven’t lived there since I was 15. So, I wouldn’t know.”

Natalie Jones‘ answer was short: “Money and weather.”

What’s my answer?

Political will.

The other day, evening actually, I got a different perspective on the roads of the Greater Metropolitan Area or GAM, in particular, the Autopista General Cañas – Cirncunvalacion – Ruta 27 from the Juan Santamaria (airport) to Escazu hotels.

My passenger, who had just arrived with his group on a private plane commented, “Costa Rica has great roads”.

Related: The Most Dangerous Roads In Costa Rica

You know what, he was right. I had not seen the changes on this route, in particular, the newly repaved, illuminated (I think) and lines on the Circunvalacion, in that way. It was at night and there was no traffic.

For the most part, I, like many others, are too busy negotiating the congestion during the day we miss appreciating the changes. Again I stress it was at night and even the Juan Pablo II bridge looked great, that is not so much in daylight.

To make my point I look to the “platina” bridge. I took three administrations to get the bridge over the Virilla river on the General Cañas to get it done. The problems began in 2009, it wasn’t in second half of the current government and the outcry of the tens of thousands of drivers to get the Solis Rivera administration moving.

It inconvenienced us for months on months that seemed to have no end. We found alternate routes, we endured congestion in some points (due to lack of infrastructure). We endured. Today the platina is a class act.

However, it doesn’t mean the General Cañas is done, there still are two major bottlenecks that need to be resolved, the Rio Segundo bridge and the Juan Pablo II bridge.

The Cirunvalacion is getting its north end connection, way too late, as the road needs a complete overhaul – like more lanes and no stoplights – even with the elimination of most of the rotondas.

The Ruta 27 was outdated even before it opened 8 years ago.

Again, the current road infrastructure is a mess due the lack of political will of past and current governments to do what needed to be done. Will the incoming government be any better? I would like to think so, but…

What’s your answer?

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