Crews from Costa Rica’s Public Works and Transport Ministry (MOPT) and the National Roadway Council (CONAVI) this week began the first stage of construction on a new road to the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve (Route 166), one of Costa Rica’s favorite tourist destinations in the Tilarán Mountains of Puntarenas.
The project was granted in a public bid to construction company RAASA, which has begun moving machinery into the area. Workers now will expand drainage and sewer systems and improve the current gravel road.
The cost of first-phase construction is ₡1 billion ($2 million), MOPT said.
Work also will begin on a stretch of road between the communities of Guacimal and Santa Elena, which during the rainy season months of May to November becomes difficult for non-four-wheel-drive vehicles.
CONAVI also is defining a schedule for second-phase construction, which consists of replacing the 18-kilometer gravel road with asphalt.
Total investment in the project is ₡8 billion ($16 million), Public Works and Transport Minister Pedro Castro said last February, when MOPT submitted the project for approval to the Comptroller General’s Office.
The current gravel road to Monteverde, in north-central Costa Rica, is narrow and difficult to transit because original Quaker founders from Alabama have fought to keep it that way to limit the number of visitors.
Earlier this year, CONAVI crews expanded the road to a width of 9 meters and fixed the damaged gravel surface following the Nicoya earthquake last year.
Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve is the area’s most prominent landmark consisting of 10,500 hectares of tropical rain and cloud forests that attract 75,000 tourists a year, a figure that can be improved with a better road, local business owners say.