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Since 2014, a group of 25 experts from the School of Construction Engineering of the Tecnológico de Costa Rica (TEC) has inspected more than 1,600 bridges around the country.

Through a contract of the National Road Council (CONAVI), representatives of the Institution conducted studies on these constructions; in what was a task framed in the Program of Evaluation of Bridge Structures.

The main objective of all this work is to create an inventory and a visual inspection of the bridges of the national routes of Costa Rica, which will be a source of consultation for the CONAVI and the Ministry of Public Works and Transportation (MOPT) for possible interventions in the structures. In addition, some detailed inspections and training were carried out.

Experts checking a bridge condition

Precisely, on July 18th, took place in the TEC the presentation of the report of results, in an act attended by the authorities of CONAVI and MOPT, led by Minister Rodolfo Méndez, who was delivered the report by Giannina Ortiz, who coordinated the project by the TEC.

The results are the property of CONAVI and will be administered jointly with the MOPT. They indicate the bridge conditions in detail, one by one, and in general, as a whole, going from its composition (materials of which they are manufactured), length, structural condition, geometry, damage scheme, deterioration, and oxidation. It also contains photographs and maps.

According to Ortíz, the general state of the bridges is not good and immediate measures must be taken. “We already have the information for decision making. The next step is to keep the information current and generate an action plan for bridges”, she said.

Damage to the pavement, steel railings and water seepage between bridging joints are some of the most serious deficiencies found by the analyzers. Oxidation, corrosion, cracking, and paint problems are other situations exposed in the document. All these factors are taken into account as risks for road safety.

Some of the recommendations that are offered include actions related to the updating of databases, greater institutional coordination, constant maintenance and taking into account the environment in which the bridge is located.

The need for a larger budget, the reinforcement of the legislation and the adequate training are also exposed as pending tasks to improve in order to solve the problem.

In addition to the inspections indicated, talks, seminars and other activities related to the theme were part of these almost 5 years of work of the institutions involved.

 

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