(posted Jan. 21)- A new study by Nicaraguan investigators finds that the newly constructed Costa Rican highway (Juan Rafael Mora Porras Highway—Route 1856) paralleling Nicaragua’s San Juan River is affecting the natural habitat of some 600 species of animals.
“The alterations provoked (by the highway) are significant and put at risk the biological connectivity of the isthmus (Central America),” reads a report by EFE citing a year-long study conducted by the National Autonomous University’s Investigative Center for Aquatic Resources (CIRA-UNAN), the Humboldt Center and River Foundation.
The report found that 100 kilometers of the roadway’s 160-kilometer length were build inside an area that is considered “highly fragile and ecologically delicate, forming one of the principle nodes of biological connectivity in Mesoamerican Biological Corridor.”
The environmental damages report concludes that the Costa Rican roadway will have “unforeseeable consequences on the ecological stability of the region in the mid-term.”
The riverside road was started hastily in 2010 without any environmental impact studies and—apparently—with only a dubious grasp on engineering. Now both countries are paying the price for Costa Rica’s folly. Plagued by corruption scandals and ineptitude, the riverside roadway—built as an emergency defense measure—was partially washed out with the first rains of the year.
The roadway, which his still unfinished, has become a major embarrassment for the Chinchilla administration and a major point of contention between neighboring countries.