Report: Tico roadway blocks biological corridor

(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.

  • Brian

    Tico hypocrisy and corruption at their best!

  • Mela Pellas

    A tico told me that the road was built so that CR police, as well as any forces that came to their help, could mobilize rapidly to block any attempt by ortega and his sandinista army, to invade. Friendly countries to CR thought the road was not only needed, but might have curtailed any evil designs of the nica dictator. Who knows?

    • http://no Damian

      Mela, no need to be afraid of Nicaragua. They don’t have a foreign policy based on flexing muscles and pointing weapons. Quite a few other countries are better at doing this. Additionally, the Tico police is better equipped than the Nicaraguan army. You should visit Nicaragua one day and see how unique and original it is. Beautiful landscapes, colonial cities and humble and gentle people. They are a proud and independent nation.

  • Bruneo Raphael

    why did they build it so close to the river, the river will change course and destroy the road. The biological corridor is a real concern. Would Costa Rica ever let anyone develop anything this close to a major river in C.R. without extensive studies. I had mistakenly thought C.R. was concerned with the natural environment, obviously I was wrong. This action by C.R. is very disturbing. It is also a childish reaction to the Isla issue from 2 years ago.

  • Ken

    Yup, nothing has made me more ashamed of my adopted country (Costa Rica). The real pity is that Chinchilla reacted this way rather than have the guts to sit down with Ortega and negotiate a win-win solution. There was a win-win solution to be found too–Chinchilla and the Ticos just decided to paint the dispute as an “invasion” and Ortega as a mean dictator rather than even talk to the guy.

    Unfortunately, the episode also reveals how shallow Costa Rica’s pacifism is. Many Ticos, perhaps Chinchilla herself, were hoping the US would send in the Marines to “defend” Costa Rica. She and her surrogates sure spent a lot of time and money on whining tours in the US and Europe trying to drum up support. Then of course Costa Rica slapped its own heavily armed “police” at the border.

    Indeed, what kind of a pacifist refuses to even talk to its foes?

    The only silver lining in this is that Nicaragua’s case in The Hague is now strengthened. Nicaragua is certain to come away with a much larger victory than it expected.

    Still, it’s sad that the saga has unfolded this way. Costa Rica actually has legitimate grievances, but it so bungled advancing them that it made a royal mess out of the whole affair.