(CRHoy.com) .- The National Highway Council (Conavi) invested more than ₡ 1,295 million through road maintenance contracts in the central section of the new route to San Carlos (29 kilometers between Sifón de San Ramón and La Abundancia de Ciudad Quesada) without this route still being included in the national paved road network.
This situation, noted in a report from the National Laboratory of Materials and Structural Models (Lanamme) of the University of Costa Rica (UCR), prepared last May and published on July 21, It occurred despite the fact that this route was not included in the contracts that entered into force in 2016.
The construction of the central section, which was in charge of the construction company Sánchez Carvajal, was paralyzed in 2018 by a decision of the Ministry of Public Works and Transport (MOPT) to redefine the course of the work due to the numerous existing slopes.
In June 2019, Conavi decided to allocate resources from the road maintenance items to maintain the works completed at this point (with 80% progress as of 2018).
Lanamme warned that between June 2019, when the executive direction of the council is instructed to incorporate resources for the conservation of the road, and on April 14, 2020, the date on which the central section was officially declared as part of the paved road network , more than ₡ 1,295 million on the route, plus ₡ 61 million for the concept of work at cost plus percentage.
Which companies were in charge of the conservation works in that period? More than ₡ 310 million were executed Constructora MECO; Constructora Herrera exceeded ₡ 921 million in jobs, Adrián Solano Rodríguez executed more than ₡ 30 million and more than ₡ 33 million were executed by the Consorcio Agroindustrial Ecoterra SA
“According to the chronological order of the events, it is the criterion of this audit that the conservation work carried out prior to April 14, 2020 were executed at a time when the route was not properly characterized and therefore formally incorporated (…) On this aspect, road maintenance work should not be carried out on roads that have not been duly incorporated into the paved national road network in accordance with article 1 of Law 7798 creating Conavi, which indicates this law regulates the construction and maintenance of highways, cross streets and bridges of the national road network ”, Alerted the report.
According to Lanamme, the fact of incorporating an unfinished route in the national road network to be served by the Management of Conservation of Roads and Bridges, could unbalance the budget for other maintenance work in the same area of the country.
“Including the central section in the national road network implies as a consequence the modification in the quantities and amounts to be executed in the respective road conservation zones, because the resources initially established to attend to the various needs in the other routes must be readjusted to be able to cover the new needs ”, quoted Lanamme, an entity that added that, for example, in Sifón-La Abundancia a 6.8% of the total amount of the conservation contract for 4 years for one of the previously established zones.
The laboratory recommended that the inclusion of this section in road maintenance contracts be accompanied by a duly documented cost-benefit analysis.
Esteban Coto, Huetar Norte regional director of Conavi, responded on April 30 of this year to the Lanamme and acknowledged that the Sifón-La Abundancia section had not been declared a national route at the time the conservation tasks began in June 2019.
However, he stressed that there was an “urgent and urgent need” to maintain the road.
“(…) Because, as was well indicated by that state body, the construction of the route began 13 years before, where by simple logic tens of millions of dollars were invested and its construction was abandoned.
“So much so, that the route, after several long waiting stages, is finally declared as part of the national road network without any opposition. This shows that the Administration’s will to the contrary never existed and, on the contrary, it was addressed promptly and in a timely manner, as required by our administrative obligations in order to protect the investment made and preserve road assets, an assessment that is diametrically different from a subjective perception ”, assured Coto.
The official reiterated that the intervention was “Urgent and urgent” under the protection of a simple application of sound rational criticism.
“If the northern section La Abundancia-Florencia was being intervened, the maintenance of the central section could not be neglected, because if they had not done so, the advanced works that cost the public treasury millions of dollars and that were in total abandonment would have deteriorated completely, by virtue of which the decision was made to intervene in that central section precisely to avoid a serious injury to public finances, where in addition, it would have had to start from scratch with the works for its qualification, which would undoubtedly be much more onerous for the public administration ”, alleged Coto.
The Internal Audit of Conavi has under the magnifying glass the works already built, for approximately $ 300 million, in the central section. The completion plan for the work promoted by the MOPT, estimated at An additional $ 300 million, includes the completion of the central section and the still non-existent southern tip (Sifón-Autopista Bernardo Soto). Of that amount, $ 225 million will be financed by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB).