San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

China to finance most of Limón road expansion

China will help finance a major road expansion project to the Caribbean port city of Limón, but will only donate part of the funds needed to complete it, the daily La Nación reported. The project will expand a 108-kilometer stretch of Route 32, which links San José to Limón, from two to four lanes between Río Frío de Sarapiquí and Limón, as well as add bicycle paths for local residents, pedestrian walkways and bridges for local traffic.

The route is an important artery for goods and travelers moving between the capital and the coast. Approximately 5,000 vehicles traverse the road daily, including about 700 cargo vehicles, according to La Nación. This high volume of traffic combined with a narrow, two-lane road lead to heavy congestion along the route.

Originally estimated to cost $221 million, Chinese and Costa Rican officials now say the project could have a price tag of up to $420 million. China will now offer financing in the form of low-interest loans or credit to complete the work, in addition to a partial donation.

A new shipping port slated to be built at the Caribbean port of Moín, near Limón, by the Dutch company APM Terminals would increase the flow of goods and people along the route, adding an extra bit of urgency to enhancing the road’s capacity for traffic. If approved by the Costa Rican Comptroller General, construction on the Moín shipping terminal would begin by 2013 and be completed by 2016.

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