The National Roadway Council (CONAVI) on Tuesday promised residents of the cloud forest community of Monteverde that construction of a new road will start in November.
The agreement came after a meeting attended by officials from CONAVI, the Comptroller General’s Office and residents of the north-central community, one of Costa Rica’s most popular tourist destinations.
CONAVI officials agreed to open a public bid for the project no later than September. The ₡7.5 billion ($15 million) project will include an asphalt road to replace an 18-kilometer stretch of deteriorated gravel road. It also will include the construction of ditches and guardrails.
If the Comptroller General’s Office approves a public-bid contract, work would begin in November. CONAVI said the project would take 10 months to complete.
On Monday, Monteverde residents protested the state of the current road during a demonstration on the Inter-American Highway in the Pacific province of Puntarenas. They said tourism in their community and in the cloud forest reserve has declined significantly in the past year because travel to the area is so difficult. Several hotels, restaurants and other business have closed in recent months, they said. The road is especially dangerous during the rainy season months of May to November.
Some 100,000 tourists visit the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve each year.