Costa Rica’s La Amistad Bridge Will Undergo Major Repairs in 2024

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The bridge over the Tempisque river in Costa Rica, known as La Amistad, in Guanacaste, will be closed for three months between May and July of next year, to finally undergo the major repairs that have been urgently needed for more than four years.

Mauricio Batalla, director of the National Roads Council (CONAVI), assured Monday night before the deputies of the Guanacaste commission, that after completing the preliminary studies it was determined that the structure presents greater damages than those that had been initially pointed out.

He also explained that although the awarded company Estrumed Metalmecánica won the bidding for $1.7 million, the cost of the repair increased to $2.6 million. With this investment, he said, the useful life of the structure would be extended for 75 more years.

The CONAVI director said that the awarded company has among its team of experts the original designer of the bridge, who after the first analysis identified specific issues with the pier supports.

Batalla stressed that the structure could not withstand another earthquake similar to the one that struck Nicoya in 2012.

Initially, CONAVI had announced that they would intervene with the bridge this year, however, Batalla insisted that the intention is not to affect the transit to the Nicoya Peninsula, in the time of greater visitation of tourists. For this reason, it is planned to schedule the repair after Easter Week 2024.

In addition, approval from the Board of Directors is still required for the proposed repairs.

The rehabilitation would involve the intervention of pier number 8, which requires replacement of the joint, detailing of railings and sidewalks, replacement of supports, correction of the bridge alignment, leveling of the decks, among others.

As a contingency plan, the Ministry of Public Works and Transportation (MOPT) plans to reinforce ferry services to Tambor and Naranjo beach, in addition to the extended Limonal-Cañas and Cañas-Liberia sections.

The intention of enabling a coastal ferry on the Tempisque River itself was discarded because areas where docking points existed in the past are now private estates and protected areas.

An urgent intervention

According to the engineers, the main problems reported to the Administration are the loss of one of the steel profiles of the joint and the deformation of the two remaining profiles in the section of the joint that is damaged. This has resulted in a gap of about 22 cm, covering the entire rail in the Nicoya-Limonal direction, amounting to half of the expansion joint.

Another risk, they pointed out, is that when trying to avoid the damaged piece, drivers invade the oncoming lane, which represents a risk of traffic accident.

LANAMME experts have been calling for urgent intervention on the La Amistad bridge for more than four years, as it has not received optimal maintenance since its inauguration in 2003.

Source : Ticotimes