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Tuesday, September 02 2014 @ 07:45 PM EDT

Construction On New International Airport in Rio Hato Advances

Infrastructure UpgradesThe project that became a source of conflicts, disagreements and even rivalries among the residents of the central region of the country, the Central Provinces International Airport is finally being built in Rio Hato. But the construction is still generating conflicts, both with local authorities and with environmentalists; despite the fact that the construction of the airport is already 15% completed, according to a representative from the Meco company, who runs the project.

CLAIMS - At this time, the Municipality of Anton is calling for the builder to pay nearly $175,000 in taxes corresponding to the rehabilitation of the runway and the construction of the airport terminal. The claim has generated a conflict, because the company refuses to pay, arguing that it is a project being managed by the Civil Aviation Authority which falls under Law 89 of 2010, which exempts the entity from paying taxes on their projects.

Jorge Caceres, the Mayor of Anton, said the municipality will remain with their decision to collect taxes, since it is money they have already included in their 2012 budget, and already the town is in processing the collection letter.

Another problem that has faced the project is the allegation made by the environmental lawyer Ramon Sevillano, who argues this project did not comply with the elaboration of a Category III Environmental Impact Study, which is required for this type of project. Sevillano filed several criminal complaints before the Public Ministry and he is waiting for his complaints to be processed, because there is talk of the emergence of underground water sources that may affect the infrastructure of the project.

In this respect, Andres Chavarria, the project manager from Meco, said the company has complied with the presentation of the relevant studies and have taken all necessary corrective measures to prevent the water, which is natural in the water table, from affecting the infrastructure. Added to all this it was learned that a forest reserve exists in the area of the construction, protected by the National Environmental Authority that affects the development of the project, but in this case is the state that must make a decision.

The Positive - But not everything is a conflict in the Rio Hato International Airport. This work represents an improvement in tourism development in the region, where there is talk of building five new hotels. Currently there are more than 200 workers building the project, of which 90% reside in surrounding areas. It is hoped this figure will increase once the movement of earth and dirt is completed, and the work is started to build the foundations to start the tunnel, which is also part of this million-dollar project.

For Chavarria, this work represents a breakthrough in the development of tourism in the district of Antón and the central region of the country, because it will significantly decrease the travel time of tourists. The work on this project formally started on 1 December 2011, and work should be completed by November 2012, with the airport to become functional in mid-2013. The cost of this work, including the tunnel where vehicles will transit to the capital and the interior of the Republic, is in the order of $53 million dollars, and is a project shared by the Civil Aviation Authority and the Ministry of Public Works. (Mi Diario)

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