Saturday, August 11, 2012

Road Construction in Coastal Ecuador

The Pacific Coast in Ecuador is undergoing massive road construction.  All of the roads and bridges are being paved and rebuilt, or have just been completed.  One of the really awesome things that the Ecuadorian government does is posts billboards along the roads telling people how much each section costs.  Now might be a good time to direct you to a map of the coast.

Here is the sign for the road between Montecristi and Jipijapa (pronounced hippy-happa) telling us that the 46.89 Km stretch costs $32.5 million US dollars.  This road is just about complete; almost nothing left to do so it's an easy drive.

Between Pedernales and San Vicente (just across the bridge from Bahia), 111.08 Km costs $99.5 million.  This one is underway now.  Some bridges are out, some are being prepared to be taken out, and I don't think there were any that were complete yet in July, 2012.
Between Santa Elena and Bahia, 278.7 Km costs $90.4 million.  There is just the one bridge left to rebuild that I told you about last post.  Otherwise, it is just about completed.
When we drove from Bahia to Canoa, we crossed the bridge beyond this pile of dirt (click on the picture to get a better view).  This picture is taken the very next day - glad we went there when we could take the bridge :) 
When roads are under construction, they let you drive on whichever section they are not currently working on.  Basically, all traffic going both directions are driving in one lane making the drive most interesting and perilous.  Not to mention that rebar is sticking straight up about 2 inches in the area where a curb is going to eventually be installed.  We thought for sure we were going to get a flat tire or two but managed to make it with four intact tires.

Is this bridge really being held up with wood?  I would not like to be one of the workers under it.
How do you make sure no one drives on the completed section?  Rocks of course!
Hopefully you know which way to go at the unmarked Y's :)  We took the left first, only to find a bridge out with no bypass.  The right took us to the new highway under construction.
We were not sure if we were supposed to be driving on this road but the workers waved us on after we stopped.
Even the speed bumps in towns are being moved, improved and painted.  I am so happy to see the paint because a lot of times, a speed bump was not visible until we were already going over it (at full speed).
 When complete, the roads are very nice.
We are really looking forward to living there and seeing all of the improvements full time!

Until next time,
Emily

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