The Ministry of Public Works and Transportation has obtained only 62 of the 141 properties required to construct a new roadway to San Carlos.

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However, 79 expropriations are still pending, despite the work having begun 9 months ago and being scheduled for completion in little over 3 months.

In a recent report the Comptroller’s office warned that the delay in expropriations could paralyze the advance of the project, bringing serious consequences to the government which is obligated to have the right of way ready.

The new route will reduce the travel time from San Jose to Ciudad Quesada by 45 minutes, shortening the distance from 95 to 81 kilometers. The construction is 30 km long and extends from Sifon (San Ramon) to La Abundancia (San Carlos).

The Taiwanese firm RSEA is in charge of the construction which had an estimated cost of $61 million. Of this, $15 million was donated by Taiwan, $32 million was loaned by Taiwan and $11 million came from the government of Costa Rica.

The construction company is currently working on the movement of earth for the entrance to the route which is 50 meters wide.

RSEA is also building a bridge over the Barriada River in San Ramon. This is the largest viaduct on the roadway. It is 314 meters long and 50 meters high.

The Comptroller’s office concluded that the National Highway Administration Council has done a good job overseeing the progress of the construction which has not yet suffered delays.

Pedro Castro, the Vice Minister of Public Works and Transportation recognized the delays in expropriations as a serious institutional obstacle, so he assigned more personnel to the task.

The government has opted to solicit temporary entry permits from the property owners in order to continue construction. According to the Vice Minister this has allowed access to 80% of the trajectory.

The plan is to work on both ends of the roadway because more properties have been acquired in these sectors to date. The middle sector, where more expropriations are pending, will be left until the end.

There is a sector between La Vieja River and Ron Ron River where expropriations have not yet begun.

Flory Moncadais, a property owner who is dissatisfied with the appraisals, commented that her expropriation began in 2002, but most land owners haven’t even received the plans yet.

Poor Laboratory Conditions for Quality Control:

The Comptroller’s Office revealed that the National Highway Administration Council uses a laboratory in poor condition to verify the quality of the construction of the new roadway.

According to the Comptroller’s Office the laboratory is in an old building and lacks the equipment and the technical personnel necessary for this type of work

Roberto Ugalde, one of the laboratory technicians, insisted that they do have adequate equipment for the testing.

Pedro Castro, the Vice Minister of Public Works and Transportation, recognized that the laboratory is in poor condition, but stated that there is no more money in the budget. His idea is to contract with external laboratories and at the same time work to improve the Ministry’s laboratory.

Our thanks to Esteban Oviedo and our friends at La Nación – Costa Rica’s largest Spanish circulation newspaper for their permission use this article.

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