San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Costa Rica's public employees to work temporary new schedule to ease capital traffic

Heavy traffic caused by damage to several parts of the Circunvalación, a belt route surrounding downtown San José, forced the Costa Rican government to implement emergency transit measures this week. Beginning Thursday, public employees will work according to a new schedule from 7 a.m.-3 p.m. (instead of 8 a.m.-4 p.m.). The measure will affect some 60,000 public-sector employees.

The collapse of several sections of the Circunvalación also forced the Public Works and Transport Ministry (MOPT) to close parts of the road, wreaking havoc on traffic in the capital.

In two weeks public employees will be asked to work 10-hour days (instead of eight) for four days, with an extra day off per week.

This schedule will continue through Nov. 17, and public agencies are asked to implement them as long as the measure does not affect essential services, Communications Minister Carlos Roverssi said last week.

The government also will post 120 Traffic Police officers and 120 National Police officers on roads to ensure public safety. These officers will work during rush hours, from 6-9 a.m. and 4-7 p.m.

Last week President Laura Chinchilla’s administration proposed adding an extra day of vehicle restrictions, a system based on license plate numbers that restricts access to downtown San José one day per week. But that proposal was dismissed Friday evening, Roverssi said.

Public Works and Transport Minister Pedro Castro said it could take more than four months to rebuild the collapsed section of highway at a cost of ₡1.5 billion, just under $3 million.

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Closures on San José’s Circunvalación

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