College of Geologists denies assertions of the Minister of Transport after the tragedy in Cambronero

According to the professionals, slope and slope instability hazard analysis is a “well-studied” discipline.

In a statement to the press, the College of Geologists of Costa Rica (CGCR) and the Costa Rican Committee for Geological and Environmental Engineering (COCIGA) denied two assertions made by the head of the Ministry of Public Works and Transportation (MOPT), Luis Amador Jimenezabout the unpredictability and lack of resources after the tragedy on National Route 1, Cambronero sector, which claimed the lives of nine people.

Under the signature of the president of the CGCR and COCIGA, Arnoldo Rudin and Sergio Mora Castro respectively, was pointed out in the words of Amador pronounced on Monday, September 19, 2022in which said landslides are unpredictable; “You can take a whole group of geologists to assess the entire highway, and yet tomorrow a situation can arise that cannot be visualized”, the minister said.

According to the professionals, slope and slope instability hazard analysis is a “well-studied” discipline. They pointed out that it requires an adequate assessment of the natural susceptibility of the land and the triggering processes that cause it, such as earthquakes, intense rains or human activity.

They explained that the quantitative assessment is carried out through specialized geotechnical, geomorphological, geological, topographical and hydrometeorological studies and therefore, “does not correspond to the result of a simple visit.”

The procedures incorporate satellite and aerial interpretation (aviation, drones), geodesic, laboratory tests, field studies and “in situ” instrumentation, from which measurements are made, both indirect and direct, which are then used in the carrying out calculations and projections”, they emphasized.

Additionally, they recalled that the end of the preliminary studies, the correct application of these criteria for the design, construction and maintenance of the cuts and fills of a highway, it is precisely to reduce the probability of a rupture or deterioration of the road.

The other affirmation of Minister Amador Jiménez later denied was: “We do not have the advanced technology that allows us to go and do all the monitoring on the constant site that allows us to see mass movements, the geologists in this country go and make a visual assessment”.

Both the CGCR and the COCIGA they rated the words as “imprecise“, stating that geotechnical specialists have proposed to the administration the establishment of observation, surveillance, alert, warning, alarm and response systems for several landslides (probable and active). They affirmed that when they have been adopted, they obtain as a result the security, economy, protection and sustainability.

Costa Rica has professionals in geology, specialized in Geotechnics, who work in various public institutions (CNE, LANAMME, MOPT, ICE, etc.) and also in private companies. These experienced professionals They have done numerous studies and investigations over decades on a large number of cases. We offer the Minister to update him on the issues that are of interest to him “.

To conclude, they invited the authorities of the Chaves Robles administration to obtain information through the channels of the College and COCIGA, and that risk management cease to be seen as a cost and be considered as a profitable investment.

We are convinced that these unfortunate events that mourn and impoverish our country can be mitigated through the application of scientific and technical knowledge that we have.”

A few days ago, the company Globalvía, concessionaire of route 27, between San José and Caldera, also denied an alleged request by Amador Jiménez on Saturday, September 17, to suspend the collection of tolls, while cleaning work was being carried out on the North Inter-American Highway at the height of Cambronero due to a landslide that occurred between Thursday and Friday.

Another statement that was denied in this case was that of President Rodrigo Chaves, who assured that the site of the tragedy was identified as one of the vulnerable points on the route. The media he consulted the veracity of the words with Mauricio Batalla, executive director of the National Road Council (Conavi), and he refuted them.

College of Geologists denies assertions of the Minister of Transport after the tragedy in Cambronero