TICO BULL – I have been in Costa Rica long enough to remember that the carretera (road), which some call autopista (highway), General Cañas was four lanes – two in each direction.
Some years back, someone at the Ministry of Ineptitude, also known as the MOPT (Spanish acronym for Public Works and Transport), made the decision to widen the road to six lanes.
The widening took place. What we got, almost overnight, is a road three lanes in each direction between the Juan Pablo II bridge in a La Uruca to the international airport.
But before you can say, that is great, what really happene is that the two lanes were converted to three – that is two normal lanes were now three tight lanes an with no shoulder.
Ok, we an live with that. But what about the bridges? So, on this six lane ‘highway’ we have to two four lane bridges. Yup, instant bottlenecks.
But that’s not all folks, lets not forget about the buses. With the exception of a couple of bus bays, still have to make stops to take on or letting off passengers in the right lane.
And since there are no shoulers, vehicles with problems (varados in Spanish) have to use the right lane also.
We also got a road with varying speed limits: the inner lane has a limit of 90 km/h, the middle 80 km/h and the right lane 60 km/h. I am not making this up, though the proof of the speed limits painted the asphalt has long been worn away.
Not so bad if everyone paid attention. Still is common for drivers to go at 60 in the 90 lane and others 120 in the 60 lane. Think I am exaggerating? Unfortunately I am not.
What all this means is that it can take more than an hour to make the 10 kilometre trip during morning and afternoon rush hours. And that is barring any accident(s) or stalled vehicle(s).
I have typically avoided doing my to the airport trips between 4:00pm an 7:00pm (afternoon rush hour) and from the airport after 8:00am.
This morning I got a shocking surprise. The traffic congestion that usually began at the Cariari around 8:00am, was already in full swing before 6:30am. Yes, almost two hours earlier than normal. See the photos I took while sitting in traffic.
Imagine arriving in Costa Rica for the first time and headed for downtown San José.? Worse, not planning out well your afternoon trip to the airport for you return home flight? Nice memory, worse if you miss your flight.
Something has to be done. We need the MOPT to introduce a solutions. And quickly. I can only see things getting worse and worse if nothing is done soon.