San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Inter-American Highway reopens for daytime traffic

Workers reopened Costa Rica’s

Inter-American Highway South

yesterday morning, but only for daytime traffic and just one lane in some sections.

Motorists can use the Inter-American from 5 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The highway was closed from Cerro de la Muerte, its highest point, down to the Southern Zone canton of Pérez Zeledón after Tropical Storm Alma washed chunks of it away late last month.

Public Works and Transport Ministry (MOPT) spokesman Omar Segura said the areas affected on the Inter-American are between the 77-kilometer and 136-km markers. He also said the

Coastal Highway

, which has been bottlenecked with traffic during the almost two weeks the Inter-American was closed, has been reinforced and is functioning normally.

Workers reinforced the rickety Parrita and Paquita bridges with stainless steel plates.

The International Development Bank will donate $200,000 to help the country recover from Alma, the first tropical storm of the season, the bank’s Costa Rica representative, Fernando Quevedo, told reporters yesterday.

Red Cross spokesman Freddy Romano said the agency has ceased Alma-related emergency operations. He said the Red Cross is asking people to step up their donations because they are running low after responding to Alma.

The National Emergency Commission has reduced the alert levels for affected communities from red to green, its lowest warning. The agency announced the country is facing another tropical depression, which it is monitoring closely in the hopes it won’t morph into another tropical storm.

“In spite of the calm that is slowly returning to communities in the south, the (commission) is not lowering its guard and is maintaining an intense response operation in the cantons where Alma left a profound fingerprint,” states a press release.

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