Finally, after eleven years of waiting, the Puente de la Amistad (Friendship Bridge) over the Tempisque River began to get some notice and attention from the government.
Since January 10th, Conavi’s maintenance crew is working on the structure and performing cleanup work to give the viaduct a better appearance.
The work includes cleaning sidewalks, weeding and replacing the aluminum tubes that support and protect the railings of the bridge as well as replacing hundreds of washers and screws that have been stolen.
The cost of these improvements is in excess of ₵15,000,000 (more than $28,000), according to Luis Artavia, an engineer from Conavi’s department of roadway and bridge conservation.
In addition to this work, Conavi will contract a company to do a thorough diagnostic of the structure. It is estimated that this process will be completed during the first six months of this year.
Regarding the wear and tear suffered in the expansion joints, Artavia explained that they should probably be replaced. However, these types of improvements are more expensive and complex and should first be evaluated in the diagnostic that is going to be done.
“This is a unique bridge in the country and it requires specialized care,” said Artavia, who also indicated that they know about the reports and visits made by a group of engineers from the National Laboratory of Materials and Structural Models (LANAMME- Laboratorio Nacional de Materiales y Modelos Estructurales), along with officials from MOPT, in August of 2014.