First Phase Of The Caldera Highway To Be Inaugurated Next Week
By Inside Costa 

After some 30 years in the making, the road to Caldera that will take minutes to travel between San José and the Pacific port, is finally taking shape and the first phase of the highway will be inaugurated by the current ministra de Transportes, Karla González.

The new road, as it is being called, starts at the Ginmasio Nacional at the east end of the Sabana, passing through Escazu and Santa Ana and then winds through the mountains, and ending up at the port of Caldera.

Travelling to Caldera from San José today takes about 2 hours on the Interamericana Norte. On the new San José - Caldera route travel will be only 45 minutes. That means that travel to beach town lik Jaco and Quepos/Manuel Antonio is also reduced in greatly, 45 minutes to Jaco and less than 2 hours to Quepos.

The first phase of the highway to be inaugurated next week runs between the Sabana and Santa Ana, known as the autopista Prospero Fernandez, which has been resurfaced, bridges widened and the illegal accesses along the highway closed off. Also, several pedestrian overpasses have been added along the route, as well as bus bays at bus stops.

The second phase that is expected to be finished by December weaves through the mountains connecting towns like La Guacima, Turrucares, Siquiares and Orotina.

The second phase is really the only brand new portion of the San José - Caldera highway. Machinery and work crews have been busy, on and off, for years moving earth and building the 14 bridges along that section of the route.

The section will also have a "Centro de Control de Operaciones" (Operations Centre) located in the area of the Rio Grande, which will house ambulance, tow trucks, fire fighting equipment and a new Policía de Transito (traffic police) station.

The new highway will also include a rest stop and emergency telephones, a new concept in Costa Rica.

The third phase is between Orotina and Caldera, which route is being rebuild to accommodate the new highway. Work on that section is being completed, as the route becomes a four lane road from two and the bridges being widened and reinforced. The third phase is expected to be finished by early 2010.

Once finished, the San José - Caldera road will be a marvel for tourism and locals. However, it won't be cheap.

At Escazu there will be 29 toll booths (14 each way). Toll booths are also located in Santa Ana (Piedades) as well as several other points on the way to and from Caldera.

The cost of a complete trip between San Jose and Caledera will cost ¢1.900, each way. Buses will pay ¢3.790 and trucks of two or three axles, ¢4.740 and five axles ¢11.990.

The San José - Caldera highway is being constructed and will be operated and maintained by the consortium, Autopistas del Sol, under concession from the Ministerio de Obtas Publicas y Transportes.




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