Posted by: Idioma Extra | June 14, 2010

Monday’s News

Autopista operator succumbs to the obvious decision


Transport ministry officials took the obvious step and ordered the concession holder for the Autopista del Sol to shut down a dangerous stretch where rocks were falling on motorists.

Workers started detouring motorists off the seven-mile section Saturday morning. Traffic is following the former main highway, Ruta 1, that was replaced as the main San José-Pacific coast route by the new highway.

The closed section is between Atenas and Orotina where engineers allowed steep hillsides alongside the highway. A motorcyclist hit a boulder last month and a woman passenger later died. Other motorists have been showered with rocks and mud. There have been other injuries.

The closing is supposed to be for two weeks, but that depends on the progress of the work.

The company Autopista del Sol S.A., still is working on a plan to make the highway safer. Earlier projects installed a cement covering on some hillsides and chain link mesh elsewhere. These fixes have proved to be inadequate.

Last week workers with heavy machinery were cutting back hillsides, but rocks kept tumbling.

The Ministerio de Obras Públicas y Transportes approved the plans for the highway, which was considered a major achievement of the Óscar Arias Sánchez administration. After 32 years of planning and abortive work, the highway finally opened.

Both the ministry and the concession holder resisted closing the highway until public pressure forced the closing. There also were highly negative engineering reports.

A solution might be a long way off. Some of the property on the hillsides is under private ownership. In one location, the elevated right-of-way of the country’s train system runs close to the end of a hillside.

Although the concession holder has used rock bolts in some locations to hold the hillside together, most of the material is fractured and crumbling.

Some early work has created a terraced hillside, but there is no vegetation, and rains are likely to do some contouring, too.

Word of the Day

Main Entry: suc·cumb
Function: intransitive verb
Etymology: French & Latin; French succomber, from Latin succumbere, from sub- + -cumbere to lie down; akin to Latin cubare to lie
Date: 1604
1 : to yield to superior strength or force or overpowering appeal or desire <succumb to temptation>
2 : to be brought to an end (as death) by the effect of destructive or disruptive forces
synonyms see yield

More Vocabulary

Chain-link: adj. made of heavy steel wire woven to form a diamond-shaped mesh
Concession: n. a grant of a tract of land made by a government or other controlling authority in return for stipulated services or a promise that the land will be used for a specific purpose
Contour: v. to make or form the outline of
Crumble: v. to fall into small pieces; break or part into small fragments
Detour: v. to make a roundabout course, especially one used temporarily when the main route is closed
Stretch: n. a continuous length, distance, tract, or expanse

Love those Phrasal Verbs!

Shut down: to close, especially temporarily; cease operation

     They had to shut down the company due to the financial crisis.


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