This graphic links to a study developed by Cecal-ULA (a research center at the Universidad de Los Andes in Venezuela) on the likelihood of the collapse of Viaduct 1 and how the problem could be solved before the road falls down.
Yesterday at 7 in the morning, the Viaduct 1 collapsed, and the government announced that it would remain closed for the rest of the year. For nearly 50 years, that road connected Caracas (Venezuela’s capital) to the coastline, the country's main airport, and the second largest port (35% of imported goods enter througt it). Some airlines are shifting their flights to the smaller Valencia airport (a little more than two hours by highway from Caracas), while maritime traffic is going through Puerto Cabello.
Venezuelan bloggers are buzzing about this event, which is seen as an economical catastrophe for the country. The government official statement indicates that the bridge collapsed because rainfall within the last week. Venezuelans received such a statement with emotional reactions going from relentless laughter to anger, since the disaster had been announced long ago. The first study reporting landslides affecting the viaduct structure was published on 1987, and experts have been advising the building of an alternate route, and the closing of this highway for major maintenance works since at least 2000. Rodolfo Rico highlights the cynicism of vice-President Rangel’s remarking on the government’s unawareness about the risk of the viaduct collapsing, and reports Google search results on the issue.
Bloggers were talking about the eminence of the Viaduct collapse during all 2005. Early on December, Unoconto was crunching numbers on how much it would cost to solve the Caracas-La Guaira highway problem, and RomRod asked the Niño Jesús (Child Jesus Christ) to give him a new Viaduct as Christmas gift. Sadly, it looks like the Niño Jesús was not reading Venezuelan blogs, neither were government officers.
Houses located in the extremely poor neighborhoods surrounding the Caracas-La Guaira highway are also at risk. Pro-Chávez blog Aporrea reports government announces about relocation options for people living there: either buying a house elsewhere, or moving to a refugee center