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Drivers Can Use the New Northern Bypass Road Starting Today

Updated: Mar 11

April 12, 2023

©UNOPS/Amanda Campos

  • The President of the Republic, the Minister of MOPT (Ministry of Public Works and Transportation), other government authorities, the Central American Bank for Economic Integration (CABEI), and UNOPS conducted an opening tour of the project.

  • The activation of the three-level intersection at La Uruca, the passage over the bridge above Quebrada Rivera, the viaduct, and the intersection located over Route 32 was completed.

  • The highway resolves the connection of the Circunvalación with three important national routes: San José-Caldera (RN 27), Interamericana Norte (RN 1), and San José-Limón (RN 32).

On average, 40,000 daily users began to have access starting in June to a first-class highway that facilitates direct connection between a large part of the Circunvalación ring road, which surrounds the capital city, and three important national routes: San José-Caldera (RN 27), Interamericana Norte (RN 1), and San José-Limón (RN 32).

This was possible thanks to the enabling of approximately 4 kilometers of the Circunvalación Norte project, comprised of four Functional Units (FU) from the original contract, which today were toured by the President of the Republic, Rodrigo Chaves, and the Minister of MOPT, Luis Amador, who marked the opening to traffic on this new national route.

The president highlighted the importance of the opening and the need to expedite the complete conclusion of Circunvalación Norte. "We continue on the right path, with the clear objective of providing Costa Ricans with a faster and more agile movement through the national roads," he added.

©UNOPS/Amanda Campos

In turn, Minister Amador emphasized, "From MOPT and CONAVI we are dedicated to expediting the opening of this strategic connector that allows for more efficient journeys with the corresponding improvement in the quality of life of the users of these roads, as well as the positive effects that enabling a route that avoids going through downtown San José will bring."

"We are pleased to have been part of and to be witnessing the enablement of one of the most awaited road works by Costa Ricans, who will see significantly reduced travel times in San José thanks to this project, which is fully funded by the CABEI, the country's main financial arm," highlighted the head of the CABEI in Costa Rica, Álvaro Alfaro.

The Circunvalación Norte project includes the construction of the longest viaduct in the country and the first two three-level intersections that will function as part of Costa Rica's road infrastructure.

"From UNOPS, we celebrate this achievement for Costa Rica to enhance mobility in the Greater Metropolitan Area, thus contributing to the acceleration of a long-awaited implementation process that will allow the country to advance in its much-needed road infrastructure agenda to enhance the country's competitiveness, reducing emissions, increasing safety, and reducing transport times, thus contributing to achieving safer, resilient, and sustainable cities," assured Martín Arévalo, UNOPS Representative in Costa Rica.

©UNOPS/Amanda Campos

In the project, carried out by the Estrella-H.Solís Consortium, $163 million was invested for the four units of the original contract and an additional $59.9 million for UF V (currently under construction), both amounts from loans with the CABEI.

Enabled route

The section of the Circunvalación Norte project that is open for use starting today has a length of approximately 4 kilometers extending from La Uruca to the three-level interchange on National Route 32, which will be partially opened.

In UF I, the three-level interchange at La Uruca operates (the first of its kind in the country). This work separates the traffic from the Uruca Radial and the Circunvalación, allowing both to flow directly.

©UNOPS/Juan Humberto Zuñiga

Likewise, through a 600-meter, four-lane overpass, people will be able to move to UF II A where the bridge over Rivera Creek in León XIII is located, a new structure 154 meters long and 6 lanes wide. The route continues on UF II B with a 1.3 km, four-lane at-grade road.

Then, in the Colima de Tibás sector, it enters UF III, where users will travel on 1.5 km of elevated road or viaduct, built with four lanes (two in each direction of travel) that will take them to the area where the old Triangle of Solidarity was located.

UF IV, where the second three-level intersection was constructed, will allow people to move towards RN 32 and San José. This Unit also included the expansion from 4 to 6 lanes along 600 meters of RN 32.

The entire main trunk project features safety barriers along the road edges, as well as in the center, to ensure the separation of traffic directions.

Additionally, today all service roads, located at the edges of the main trunk or beneath it (in the case of the viaduct), were opened. These roads allow movements towards localities neighboring the project such as La Peregrina, León XIII, Colima, La Ladrillera, and Tibás, among other areas. The service roads are equipped with sidewalks and pedestrian crossings, and recreational areas for children and exercise spots have been made available for pedestrian use.

Continuation of the project

Construction work continues with the fifth and final stage of the Circunvalación Norte Road (Functional Unit V), which to date has achieved 58% progress and extends the project to Calle Blancos, to link it with the Bicentennial roundabout and thus complete the Ring Road circle. Its opening is estimated for the end of next year. UF V covers a length of 1.5 km, starting at RN 32 (near the Amazon company) and continuing the Ring Road route (RN 39) via an elevated highway (viaduct) of approximately 600 meters, with at-grade marginal roads, to facilitate movements in Calle Blancos.

©UNOPS/Juan Humberto Zuñiga

Then, RN 39 will continue through a depressed passage (tunnel) - over this it will have at-grade marginal roads as currently existing - until it reaches the point where a two-level intersection will be constructed, with RN 39 housed on the lower part and on the upper part a roundabout that will allow movements to the four cardinal directions. This section (depressed passage and intersection) spans 900 meters in length.


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