After more than a week of horrifying traffic congestion in the area of La Uruca due to the repaving of the #Circunvalación (Ruta 39) between La Uruca and Los Anonos, the Consejo Nacional de Vialidad (Conavi) decided that work will now only be at night.
But, if you think that means no more congestion, you would be wrong, because although the work crews are not out in the day, the machinery is still there, pushed to the side of the no-shoulder road, continuing to block most of one of the two lanes.
“During the night we are working at full speed, whoever passes through the area at some moments could see up to 20 trucks, profiling machines, levellers, because we are making the most of the time by doing many tasks at once, such as paving, recovering the base that is the work involved in placing cement and profiling, which includes the remove the damaged asphalt layer,” Mauricio Sojo of the Consejo Nacional de Vialidad (Conavi), an arm of the Ministry of Public Works and Transport (MOPT).
Originally, work was being carried out around the clock. But within days of commencement, traffic congestion got worse each day for the thousands of drivers coming into San Jose in the mornings and leaving in the afternoons.
Then it became all complete havoc all day. The congestion on the Autopista General Cañas, in the morning coming into San Jose began in the area of Cariari, reminiscent of the grueling days of the ‘#platina‘ bridge reconstruction; on the Ruta 27, morning traffic congestion began west of the Cuidad Colon tolls. In the afternoons, traffic volume continued heavy way past the 7:00 pm end of rush hour, some drivers telling their stories to the television news cameras of taking up to three hours from Paseo Colon to the airport tolls.
But that is not the worst of it.
According to the official, the project that is more than a simple repaving job, but rather a complete overhaul, that is expected to a have a useful life of approximately 15 years, will be ongoing for the next four to six months. Most likely the latter or even more given the reduced work schedule.
“The users and the cost of the project will be compensated with the projected results”. Mauricio Sojo.
Currently, the work that started north of the ‘water monument’ (at the Autopista General Cañas) is moving south. Once the work has reached the Los Anonos (south side of the Ruta 27), crews and machinery will make a u-turn and commence work on the other side, moving north back to La Uruca, then back south towards Los Anonos and then back north again.
In the first few days, working around the clock, the project advanced quickly. But since the middle of last week, working only at night, the advances have been slower.
Sojo added that the work was necessary due to deterioration. “The users and the cost of the project will be compensated with the projected results,” said Sojo. The operative words being “projected results”.
Work commenced on the road in 1979. It was almost three decades before any major improvements were made and as common in the last two decades or more on all roads across the country, little to no maintenance.
Those improvements include the restructuring of the ‘rotondas’ at San Sebastian, Alajuelita and Paso Ancho; and the rebuilding of the Maria Aguilar bridge after part or the original bridge collapsed.However, despite these improvements, the Circunvalacion continues to be a ‘calvario’ (a major headache) in the area of Los Hatillos (from the Maria Aguilar bridge to the Alajuelita bridge), and the Zapote rotonda.
And lest we forget the ill-conceived traffic flow on the bridge over the Ruta 27.
During this time, the thousands of users daily have had to endure enormous congestion, delays and whathaveyou, for in the end nothing much as changed. It still takes a good part of an hour to travel from La Uruca to San Pedro at any time of the day, worse during morning and afternoon rush hours.
The work also coincides with the start of the construction of the north arc, between La Uruca and Calle Blancos, a 4.3-kilometer extension that is expected to ease traffic on the south side of the capital city.
For now, Conavi authorities are making an urgent call to users of the road, particularly those who use it daily to get to and from work, to consider altering work schedules or use alternate routes or avoid traveling through the area if possible. And at night, to slow down and respect the warning signs.