El Rayo, Quebrada Seca, and Rio Ostional are three creeks in Ostional that get so high in the winter that passage is impossible.
The director of the Ostional Rural School, Ronny Gomez Villaflores, has had to face consistently high waters that make arriving to the school difficult for students and teachers.
“As there aren’t any bridges, the kids are stuck and this affects the educational process and the constitutional right to an education,” said the director.
Gomez says that at the beginning of this year the school’s teachers had to return to Santa Cruz because the water levels of local streams impeded their arrival to the institution.
High creek levels also affect local commerce because they closed roads to tourists who are looking to spend money in local businesses.
Irena Villalobos, of the hotel Hacienda del Sol, says that taxis who take foreigners from Liberia’s airport can’t get to San Juanillo because when the creeks overflow it is only possible to get there by the Marbella bridge, which is currently under repair and access is limited.
Development associations in San Juanillo and Ostional met this past April 4 and 28 with engineers from CONAVI (National Roadway Council) and local business leaders to propose fixes to the creeks that pertain to Route 160, but they are still waiting for concrete actions.
“The ministry [Ministry of Public Works and Transportation] promised that they would give us the materials if we provided the labor,” said Magdalena Vega, president of the Integral Develop Association of Ostional.
CONAVI clarified in an email that they have approved the broadening of the maintenance contract for Route 160 on the stretch between Rio Montaña and Rio Seco. However, they have yet to hire the company that will get the maintenance contract.
And the solution?
Vega held a meeting on July 19 with representatives from the municipality of Santa Cruz in which they agreed to form an emergency commission among business owners and residents to solve the problem.
“We are asking the municipality for a pedestrian bridge,” said Vega.
The deputy mayor of Santa Cruz, Iván Rodriguez, added that he will create a municipal commission to evaluate Ostional’s cantonal routes and help them to build bridges over the creeks.
Ramirez proposed seeking support from the National Emergency Commission to build bailey bridges over three creeks in case the ministry does not offer solutions quickly.
“I know it’s not going to be in the short term but we have to begin the process,” said Ramirez, who did not know how much money will be set aside for these projects. It is just a proposal, he added.