The Arenal Area Magazine

Traffic In Costa Rica Returning To Normal After Two Days Of Complete Chaos


The temporary closure of the San José – Caldera (Ruta 27) Friday morning added to the traffic chaos that has gripped Costa Rica since Wednesday night with the washing away of the Interamericana norte north of Puntarenas, cutting off the main route between the Central Valley and Guanacaste.

Workd crews busy at clearing the San José – Caldera on Friday. An areal view of the mess (right).

Shorlty before 10am Friday rumours spread like wildfire that the autopista to Caldera was closed. The concessionaire, Autopistas del Sol, quickly confirmed the rumours, announcing that, once again the road between Orotina and Atenas had to be closed to allow work crews and equipment to clear the way from the debris of the most recent landslide.

Many readers made calls to Inside Costa Rica to confirm or deny the rumours.

The morning landslide following the overnight and early morning rain through the area occurred between kilometres 49 and 50 and forced the closing of the section between Orotina and Atenas.

However, by early afternoon work crews had cleared enough of the debris from the roadway to allow the re-opening of one lane and the full roadway by the end of the day.

Once again critics make their point that the highway is unsafe and should have not re-opened so soon after being closed for almost a month beginning on June 12.

Friday morning’s closure added to the nightmare that drivers have been facing since Wednesday night when a section of the Interamericana norte was washed away by raging currents of the rio Seco, near Miramar, Puntarenas.

That closure forced drivers onto the only two alternate routes connecting Guanacaste and Nicarauga to the Central Valley, adding hours of travel and tremendous congestion.

Add to that the temporary closure of the Zarcero – San Carlos section of the alternate when two trucks collided on a narrow curve, forcing the evacuation of some 50 people when one of the trucks, a gasoline tanker truck, spilled fuel and authorities feared and explosion.

At 4pm on Friday the ministro de Obras Públicas y Transportes (MOPT), Francisco Jiménez, announced the re-opening of the Interamericana, as work crews and machinery were able to shore up the road, fill in the huge crater left behind by the raging currents and allow vehicles to transit again and ease congestion on the alternate routes.

This morning (Saturday) the paving of that section of road will be paved, making travel through the area slow for the better part of the day.

The important thing, however, is that traffic is moving on the Interamericana, the only major route between San José and the beaches and resorts of Guanacaste and the only major route for producers to get their products to and from the Central Valley and to Nicaragua.

Minister Jiménez had said on Thursday morning that the Interamericana would be closed for at least three days. However, quick action by work crews and the absence of rain in the area since Wednesday allowed work to progress quickly and in time for the long weekend traffic.

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