SAN JOSE, COSTA RICA – September 26th, 2012 – The Ministry of Public Works and Transportation (MOPT) will force drivers to lower their speed when passing over the bridge of the Virilla River, located on the General Canas highway. The bridge has come to be known as the “Platina Bridge” due to a metal grate that was placed on it over a year ago as a stopgap repair.
The metal grate, however, has been unsuccessful, as the vibration on the structure is increasing daily, and is becoming more and more concerning. With the vibration, a big part of the concrete squares in between the now-exposed metal grate have been damaged, patched, and/or are in need of repair.
The MOPT, as a temporary solution, will now place large thermoplastic paint strips that will force drivers to lower their speed when passing over the bridge. This measure, however, will only slow the loss of the structure’s concrete, while the wait for a definite solution seems to grow longer and longer.
“We have a four-lane bridge on a six-lane highway, so there is already a limit in the bridge’s capacity. If we lower the speed on the bridge, the capacity of it will decrease even more, which will most probably result in traffic jams. The big traffic jams that we saw in the past, when people purposely slowed down the speed to look at the bridge, or because they were concerned about its safety, will now be repeated. This may cause traffic jams in both the San Jose-Alajuela direction vice-versa,” said Guillermo Santana, a bridge specialist.
Permanent repair of the structure will take over one year and will begin in 2013. It will cost $7 million dollars and will consist of removing the metal grate that was placed there a little over a year ago.