The Environment Tribunal, an administrative court under the Ministry of Environment, Energy and Technology (MINAET), paralyzed all work on the San José-Caldera highway on Thursday because of apparent environmental damages, according to a press release from the court.
The release says the court ruled construction of the highway has affected the Barva aquifer, the Río Tárcoles and at least 20 streams and rivers along the route from Ciudad Colón, a town southwest of San José, to the town of Orotina, just inland from the central Pacific coast.
The court ordered “detailed studies” from the MINAET’s water department and the National Groundwater, Irrigation and Drainage Service (SENARA) before any work can continue.
During construction in May, construction workers cut a trench 15 to 20 meters deep near San Rafael de Alajuela, west of San José, despite plans that show the Barva aquifer rises to within five meters of the surface. Footage on Channel 7 news showed water pouring out of the ground in this area (TT June 5).
Autopistas del Sol, a subsidiary of the Spanish company in charge of construction, was preparing a response on Thursday afternoon. The Tico Times did not receive the statement by press time.