The repair of the pass is a complicated task due to the combination of two phenomena that currently prevent immediate action, assured the Minister of Communications, Infrastructure and Housing (CIV), Javier Maldonado.
Since yesterday morning, authorities of the ministry have been on site and, together with specialists from the Institute of Seismology, Volcanology, Meteorology and Hydrology (Insivumeh), are evaluating options “in the event of an atypical emergency with two phenomena, an undermining B. by rain or damage to a collector, in addition to a geological fault.
With that in mind, Maldonado urged the population to understand traffic delays and outlined options for other light vehicle routes to reduce queues for both light vehicles and freight.
“We will not be irresponsible to close the hole and continue with traffic because there is a great risk and the life of the Guatemalans is now the most precious thing,” said the head of the CIV in a televised conference with the authorities of the Interior Ministry, the National Disaster Preparedness and Insivumeh Coordinator.
According to Maldonado, they are prioritizing engineering and scientific studies to work on mitigation issues and to stabilize the walls of the nearby bridge and collapsed area.
“With the help of the Government, the Municipality of Villa Nueva and the Municipal Traffic Police, we will change the direction of some roads to ensure passage without risking the lives of the population,” he assured.
With the geological study at hand, we will be able to design the new construction, although as a palliative measure in the coming weeks they will be evaluating the color of a Bailey bridge, he said.
Rainwater is pouring into the hole, experts say, so the damage has spread several meters, including the crack reaching the foundations of the Enrique Tejada Bridge, the only road south from the capital that is also being surveyed for structural damage .
Traffic in the affected area on both tracks has been suspended since yesterday morning, leading to major traffic chaos and queues of up to five hours due to the use of alternative routes.
The highway collapse came after 24 hours of intense rain that has left 15 dead since last May and extensive damage in at least four departments from river flooding, landslides and damage to bridges and highways.