April 15th, 2014 (InsideCostaRica.com) The controversial border road between Costa Rica and Nicaragua which has become known as “La Trocha,” (officially, Route 1856) will see the construction of ten bridges over the next 90 days, at a cost of nearly $6 million USD.
The work is due to be completed within 90 days, and includes the construction of six modular bridges and four concrete beam bridges.
Vienna-based Waagner-Biro and regional construction firm, Constructora Meco, will carry out construction of the modular bridges. The bridges will cross the Isla Chica, Cureña, Cureñita and Tambor rivers and the Trinidad and Quebrada Barbudo canals.
Local construction firm Hernán Solís will build the four concrete beam bridges, which will span the Tamboricot and Copalchi rivers and the La Ceiba and El Cedro streams.
Route 1856 has been the source of controversy for some time as a result of corruption scandals linked to the project, and has plagued the administration of President Laura Chinchilla, who has called the road a “development project.”
Several officials were arrested in December 2012 over alleged “irregularities” related to the project.
The route was constructed as a territorial dispute erupted between Costa Rica and Nicaragua over Calero Island, after Nicaragua stationed a dispatch of soldiers there.
The route has also been a source of tension between the neighboring countries. Nicaragua described the road as an “environmental nightmare” at a hearing before the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague in November of last year.
Nicaragua believes that the construction of the 130-kilometer road has caused erosion and sedimentation in the Rio San Juan, which acts as a natural border between the two countries.
Costa Rica denies Nicaragua’s claims, and claims the road is a work of importance for the economic and social development of its northern territory, and does not affect the flow of the river.