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Platina II: The Sequel

Change location. Change the actors. The Platina II is the sequel to the story of the plate (platina) of the Virilla river bridge that was the headache of drivers for almost nine years.

From Telenoticias

The sequel is the story of the overpass bridge of the Paso Ancho intersection on the Circunvalacion, over the weekend suffered a fault in one of the expansion joint plates (platina).

The damage is on the southwest end of the overpass, in front of La Guacamaya.

From La Nacion

The project that was inaugurated in August 2016 following a 10 month delay, at a cost of more than ¢5.7 billion colones (US$10 million dollars at today’s exchange rate), that included more than ¢300 million colones paid to the MECO construction company, in charge of the project, due to the delays in completion.

From La Nacion

Over the weekend transport officials placed a warning sign and cones, warning drivers to the problem on the overpass. It will be this morning, Monday when inspectors are expected to make a determination of what went wrong and what will be done to fix it.

The La Nacion, as Telenoticias in their reports, said they tried to contact the new Minister of Public Works and Transport (MOPT), German Valverde. He did not respond to their calls.

At MECO, company officials they would provide a statement at a later date.

Problems even before completion

In October 2015, 10 months before the completion of the project, Gimprosa, the company in charge of overseeing MECO detected 18 construction defects and recommended repairs.

The overpass during construction, Photo from the MOPT website

Among the faults were cracks and fissures in the concrete, buckles in metal structures and problems with anchors.

At the time, Pablo Vargas, MECO project manager, said these types of problems were “normal” in a construction project and that they had already been resolved.

The Circunvalacion

In blue is the yet to be built portion of the Ruta 39. The process, that began in 2000, is stalled in land disputes over expropriation (started in 2014) and resettlement of shantytowns that have cropped up.

The Paso Ancho overpass is one of the several projects to eliminate the “rotondas” (round·a·bouts or ronboys) in the modernization of the Circunvalacion (Ruta 39) , one of the main transit arteries of the capital city of San José.

It begins in La Uruca moving west, south and east sectors of the capital, to arrive at the Goicoechea intersection, north of Mall San Pedro. The north section has yet to be completed. Plans for the completion are stalled over land disputes (expropriations began in 2014) and resettlement issues of shantytowns that cropped up over the years since the project first began.

The Circumvalacion has a traffic volume of more than 90,000 vehicles daily.

From its beginnings, in 1979, the Ruta 39 was built with 8 roundabouts of which only two remain, the Garantia Sociales (Zapote) and Las Banderas (Sabanilla).

Despite the construction of overpasses, daily traffic congestion continues on this important route due to traffic lights in the Hatillos (on the west) and by the UCR and Guadalupe (on the east)