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Costa Rica Only Maintains Its Roads, And Does Not Improve Them

Although 85% of the national roads are in an “acceptable” state, the fact is that the government only uses patches to maintain them, while not investing to improve the 5,000 kilometers of roads.

Guillermo Loría, director general del Programa de Infraestructura del Transporte de Lanamme UCR.

In parallel, the Conavi (national roads council) spent last year ¢14 billion colones (US$24.5 million dollars) on a handful of routes and did not get the “desired” results, so there are now some 908 kilometers of roads that are in “deteriorated” condition, according to the National Laboratory of Materials and Structural Models (Lanamme).

This affects the competitiveness of the country to attract foreign investment, in addition to the quality of life of users, who have to travel along roads with deficiencies in road safety, in addition to narrow roads, where there are only two lanes, thus making more extensive the driving times.

The Lanamme says that in total, 4,146 kilometers had an improvement in their condition, even if it was partial, or they maintained the condition in relation to the previous report in 2015.

“We have dedicated ourselves to just resurfacing (asphalting) and we have been efficient, but that is not the best way to invest the money, because we have to rehabilitate in a deeper way. The rehabilitation of a pavement should not be oriented to the layer of the pavement, we must think of expanding the roads, put more lanes, bus bays and shoulders, works that are not handled well. Even the edges of the asphalt mixtures become very serious problems in terms of road safety,” said Guillermo Loría, director general of the Lanamme UCR Transport Infrastructure Program.

The Lanamme numbers reveal that between 2015 and 2017, the national road network in good condition increased from 38% to 48%, from 1,913 kilometers to 2,456.

However, in the same period, the number of kilometers that need to be repaired in depth or reconstructed, went from 279 to 478, representing an increase of more than 71%.

The Lanamme has questioned for years the Conavi reactive road conservation policy.