The deadline to relocate families living on land slated for highway construction in San José was postponed this week for the fourth time in more than six months.
The land occupied by a slum known as “Triángulo de la Solidaridad” was supposed to be cleared by March 28, but the Housing Ministry on Tuesday said it would need at least three more months to complete new housing for the families.
Some 191 families must be relocated to allow for construction of the northern stretch of the Circunvalación, a beltway around the capital. The 4.1-kilometer stretch of road will connect the community of La Uruca, northwest of the capital, with Route 32, the highway connecting San José with the Caribbean province of Limón.
Housing Minister Rosendo Pujol reported this week that only 17 of the 180 homes needed to house the families are ready.
“In addition to those 17 houses, 45 are currently under construction, and work on 82 more will begin in the coming weeks,” Pujol said. The minister did not disclose the locations of the new homes. Last year, neighbors in the southern San José canton of Desamparados protested the possible relocation of slum residents there.
“I believe we can complete the relocation and all necessary cleanup work on the land by May, so we can move forward with the project,” the minister said.
An exact date to launch the highway construction is uncertain.
Triángulo de la Solidaridad emerged 14 years ago on a property owned by the Public Works and Transport Ministry. Currently about 525 families live in the slum, including a large number of Nicaraguan immigrants, according to Housing Ministry data.
The relocation of families from Triángulo de la Solidaridad was originally scheduled for October but was postponed to December and then again that month. Delays in the construction of new houses for slum inhabitants earlier this year forced ministry officials to postpone the deadline once again to March and now, this week, to May.
Housing Ministry officials estimate that some 36 families will have to be temporarily relocated in May to container homes on land adjacent to the slum, at a cost of some $300,000, until permanent homes can be finished.
MOPT officials say work on the first stage of the highway project, including measurements and other basic procedures, could begin in late April. The construction of the Circunvalación Norte project is expected to cost $141 million.