The bridge over the Virilla river, on the Ruta 32 near the Saprissa stadium, hence called the “Saprissa bridge” is a “hot spot” for the number of suicides and attempted suicides.

The new three lane structure will run parallel to the existing two lane bridge.

For this, the workers of the crews building the new bridge parallel to the so-called Saprissa bridge will receive psychological training to manage interventions of possible suicide attempts and/or being a witness of a suicide.

The training of the crews is one of the immediate measures that will be developed by the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS), administrator of the construction project.

These workers, eventually, could become witnesses and should be prepared both to handle the situation emotionally and to intervene an attempted suicide, if possible.

The Saprissa bridge is a ‘hot spot’ for suicides and attempted suicides

“We are planning a training session, we have had conversations with the School of Psychologists to give them basic tools. This is to protect workers and allow them basic training, to know how to behave in a situation like this,” said Alejandro Rossi, director of the UNOPS office in Costa Rica.

The Saprissa bridge over the Virilla river. The Saprisa stadium is in the background (to the right)

The old Saprissa bridge and it’s future ‘twin’ will have devices to increase the safety of those who transit through these structures; among them, systems to prevent suicides.

Rossi explained that while the new three-lane bridge is being built, the old two-lane bridge will get a protective railing.

“In principle, (the work) would be in charge of the Consejo Nacional de Vialidad (Convavi). We are trying to develop the study so that this is done quickly because it is of the utmost urgency,” said Rossi.

According to data from the Fuerza Publica (National Police), taken from the 9-1-1 records, between January 1 and February 19, 2018, they had to intervene in 14 incidents there, whether they were suicide attempts or completed suicides.

For the same dates of this year, the number of incidents rose to 23. In one day alone, there were two suicide attempts and one suicide.

The Mayor of Tibás, one of the cantons adjacent to this bridge, was interested in resolving the matter and even proposed the placement of meshes.

The project

The existing Saprissa bridge is a ‘hot spot’ for suicides and attempted suicides.

The MECO and Puentes y Calzadas companies form the consortium awarded to erect the parallel 285 meters long structure, whose total investment is $22.4 million. It will be ready in 18 months.