Chaos On The Interamericana Norte
The complete closure of the Interamericana Norte at the rio Seco (kilometre 127) will not only affect tourism to Guanacaste, but also the supply of goods, like fresh fruits and vegetables and rice – both to Guanacaste and other provinces in the country.
The ministerio de Obras Publicas y Transportes (MOPT) says that the three day closure is realistic to make the repairs to the road to make it transitable. However, the MOPT minister, Francisco Jiménez, qualified it by saying “as long as there are no setbacks”, explaining that weather conditions are concern.
Jiménez explained that some 5 million metric tonnes of material is being used to shore up the road and work is continuing around the clock and that if the weather doesn’t hold up and the river begins swell again, the machinery will have to be pulled out.
The minister continued in his explanation that, in addition to shoring up the road, a channel will have to be built to allow the river water to flow and that if the situation becomes complicated, a “bailey bridge” will be erected temporarily to allow traffic to move through.
The Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad (ICE) reported that a break the fibre optic cable on the bridge, affected telephony services (fixed and cellular telephones and interent) in Guanacaste and Puntarenas, including disconnecting some automated teller machines (ATM’s) and banks from their central offices.
For now traffic for the time being is being detoured through the Cañas, Tilarán, Arenal, La Fortuna and San Ramón route. That route takes one around the Arenal volcano and tourist area. The other alternate is through Cuidad Quesada in San Carlos through to San Ramón or Zarcero and Naranjo. Both alternates will connect back to the Interamericana Norte and the Bernardo Soto northwest of the Naranjo toll station.
However, the Policía de Tránsito report that those routes are heavily congested and recommend no travel through the area unless absolutely necessary. Also, some hotels in Guanacaste and La Fortuna reported cancellations.
Last night the San Carlos – Zarcero was also complete closed – adding to the nightmare faced by drivers – when two trucks collided on a sharp curve, one of the trucks being a gasoline tanker, forcing the closing in fear of an explosion.
One of the main problems faced by many is that they are not familiar with the alternate routes and the lack of signage makes the situation even worse, especially at night.
Right now the only pedestrian traffic is being allowed through the affected area, as workers erected a temporary ramp. Bus passengers are getting off on one side and getting on at the other side.