“For the first time I made it here (Puntarenas) in 50 minutes by way of the new highway”, Arias told a crowd during a tour of the Pacific port town.
The section between Santa Ana and Orotina of the new San José – Caldera highway that is not yet open to the public, had been scheduled to be open in March, pushed up from the original June opening date when construction commenced two years ago.
However, advances in the work enable it open early.
President Arias called the new highway a “gift to Puntarenses”, saying that Costa Rica has waited almost 40 years for this highway to become a reality, for the port city to have easy and fast access to San José and vice-versa.
The new road allows travel between La Sabana on the west side of San José to Caldera, south of Puntarenas, in less than 45 minutes. Currently it takes between 90 and 120 minutes to make the same trip.
The savings in time is because the highway cuts through the mountains, eliminating the steep climbs and drops on the current routes, as well the slowdown in traffic caused by big trucks and buses.
The sections between San José and Santa Ana and Orotina and Caldera have been open since last year, remaining was the middle portion.
The cost of tolls to travel the 77 kilometres of the new highway, from end to end, is about ¢1.500 colones each way for passenger vehicles and motorcycles, more for heavy trucks and buses.