Costa Rica has a incredible new toll road cutting in half the time it takes to get to the Pacific coast from San Jose. A project conceived 31 years ago and nearly 10 years in the making is now completely operational. Here is a story of perseverance that is a must read for anyone familiar with the less than stellar reputation of Costa Rica's highway system. This is a huge boom to Pacific Lots developments, the largest expat development in Costa Rica, cutting an hour off the drive to reach the southern region.
Ojochal, Costa Rica (PRWEB) January 30, 2010 -- Costa Ricans and Expats cheered as the new Caldera highway to the Pacific officially opened in Costa Rica this week. The completed highway, initially planned over 30 years ago, began operation on January 28th, 2010, 3 months ahead of schedule. What was once a dream in the eyes of the administration of Rodrigo Carazo Odio, President of Costa Rica back in 1979 is now reality. Work on the project ground to a halt about 10 years ago after it was discovered that the government had not yet expropriated all the land needed to build the road. About three years ago current President Oscar Arias got the project back on track. "This is a huge boom to Pacific Lots expat community located in the southern Pacific region" said CEO Steve Linder. "It cuts an hour off the drive time to reach our developments".
What and Why? - The 77 Kilometers, built at an estimated $238 million dollars, was financed by Autopistas Del Sol, a consortium based in Spain. The company agreed to complete the road in exchange of a 25 year, 6 month concession. This agreement allows the company to collect tolls on the road equivalent to 1820 colones (about $3 dollars) for the entire route.
Pay us in Tolls - The first section to open was from San Jose to Cuidad Colon. When the first 310 colon toll collection started in Escazu, the opening resulted in traffic jams. Now frequent drivers on the road will be able to purchase a transponder pass, or quickpass, to speed toll collection and limit traffic tie ups.
The highway goes all the way from the center of San Jose to Caldera on the Pacific coast. The road was designed to open San Jose to the port of Puntarenas on the west coast. For drivers headed to the beaches in the central and southern Pacific regions, the road cuts nearly an hour off the current route known as the Aguacate pass. The aguacate pass has been the site of frequent accidents, weekend traffic back ups and occasional land slides. There are a number of single lane bridges along the route, numerous switch backs and grades to 10 degrees.
A few Mishaps - In building the new Autopista, a variety of mishaps have transpired. The Barva Aquifer was pierced at one point, a major water supply of the central valley. This stopped construction while repairs and a redesign were worked out. There was also an issue involving the negotiation of toll booths by police, fire and ambulance vehicles. Seems there was no lane designed for emergency vehicles, a necessity during rush hour.
Prize Winning Project - The European magazine Euromoney awarded a prize to this project as “Latin America PPP Deal of the Year" for managing to finance the Highway of the Sun, unite the Ministry of Public Works and Transport (MOPT) with the Central American Bank for Economic Integration (BCIE) and Caja Madrid for the approval and implementation of the highway.
Pacific Lots is the largest single family residential project in Costa Rica. With 21 years developing home sites in Costa Rica, they are the largest builder of single family custom homes in the country. Most owners are from North America. Recent infrastructure improvements in the region include the new coastal highway, the brand new Hospital de Osa and the new international airport planned to be built just to the south. Investment and construction activity in the southern Pacific region is booming. For more information about the company see www.PacificLots.com/slide-show
Credits to Vanessa Loaiza N. and the Costa Rica news daily, La Nación - Costa Rica's largest Spanish circulation newspaper, for some of the information used in this article.
Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/2010/01/prweb3535044.htm.
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