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Highway collapse: Govt to blame?

2013-12-31 11:09

DEVASTATING EFFECTS: A massive earthquake has caused a highway in Mexico to collapse. Did the country's government ignore warning signs? Image: YouTube.

MEXICO, Ensenada – Mexico's Tijuana-Ensenada toll road has completely collapsed days after a 4.6-magnitude earthquake struck.

The quake occurred on December 19 2013 south of Ensenada and has forced the national toll road to collapse toward the sea and threatens to continue sinking, according to the utsandiego.com news site.

Video: Mexico highway collapse

Reports claim the scenic road had exhibited fractures and was reportedly sinking since December 19 2013, yet no official confirmation from geologist or road engineers have confirmed the collapse was due to the earthquake. Only the state government claimed that "natural causes" were to blame.

PLUNGING INTO THE SEA

On December 28 2013, what was described as small fractures turned into huge cracks on the cliffside, causing the highway to plunge deeper toward the sea, with some parts caving almost 91m.

Authorities have closed  the highway from the La Mision toll to the San Miguel toll, forcing travellers to take the old non-toll road from La Mision to Ensenada, an alternate route about 50km longer.

UT Sandiego reported that there are conflicting accounts about how long the highway will remain closed.

According to a local Mexican news agency Frontera,  reports that Rosa Maria Castaneda, regional director of the Federal Roads and Bridges agency responsible for the highway, has said that it might only take a week until the road reopens. Other reports put the total time needed for repairs at one year.

FINGER POINTING

The agency also claimed that the mayor of Ensenada, Gilberto Hirata, has blamed the government agency Capufe for not closing the highway stretch between La Mision and Ensenada earlier, even after reports of serious faults started to appear on social media and at the urging of state officials.

Capufe (Caminos y Puentes Federales) is the federal government agency in charge of the construction of all toll roads and bridges in Mexico.

Hirata also said that they were in talks with government officials about constructing an alternate road or replacing the highway with a bridge or another road after years of trouble with the current scenic route.

He explained the collapse would be devastating for the city of Ensenada and to the overall economy of the state, as the city is home to the third busiest cruise ship terminal in Mexico and gateway to the rest of Baja by the sea.
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