Coastal Highway South Of Quepos To Be Finished This Year

The end of work on the Costanera Sur (or Coastal Highway South) is in sight. The transport ministry said that by the end of the year, the entire 42 kilometers (26 miles) between Quepos and Dominical will be paved. The improved road will significantly reduce the driving time from San Jose to Ventana del Pacifico .. This is a considered to be a major infrastructure improvement valued at almost $40 million that will greatly increase accessibility to the southern region.

The project is seen as a boon to tourism and a way to reduce traffic in the Central Valley.

In addition, transport officials said that critical bridges should be finished by the middle of the year. Work had been stopped by damage sustained from the October floods.

The Costanera Sur already has been graded. That was a $17.7 million job that included installing drainage systems.

The final paving is in two contracts. Consorcio Meco-Santa Fe has the job between Savegre and Quepos. That stretch is about 19 kilometers (about 13 miles) and will cost $16.4 million. The section from Savegre to Dominical is 22.6 kilometers (about 14 miles) and the responsibility of Constructora Solís-Sánchez Carvajal. The contract is for $15.5 million.

In both sections the workers will install a 30-centimeter (12-inch) sub base, a 20-centimeter (eight-inch) base and a 13-centimeter (5.1-inch) road surface.

The Costanera Sur was one of those projects that was much talked about and promised by every administration for the last 30 years because of the obvious beneficial impact on the area along the central Pacific coast.

When the road is finished, trucks can easily go north and south along the coast without traveling on the Interamerican highway that goes through San José and Cartago. That is possible now but the condition of the road makes travel risky in bad weather. Trucks from the north and south also will be able to avoid crossing the central mountains twice to go from one border to the other.

The Meco-Santa Fe contract has a deadline of eight months. The Solís-Sánchez Carvajal has a 10-month deadline, according to the Ministerio de Obras Públicas y Transportes. However, there are provisions for extensions if bad weather intervenes.

Most of the bridges on the road also are expected to be finished by the middle of the year. The span at Parrita, a $3.7 million job will have a cycle path and a pedestrian walkway. A bridge over the Río Naranjo is valued at $2.8 million.

Bridges at Hatillo Viejo and Hatillo Nuevo are already underway and workers just began to rebuild and widen a bridge over the Río Savegre.

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