Costa Rican Mayor Taken to Task for Dangerous Crocodile-Viewing Bridge

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A private lawsuit has been brought against the Municipality of Garabito, in Costa Rica’s Central Pacific region, the Ministry of Public Works and Transport (MOPT) and the Directorate General of Transit (DGT) for a perceived dangerous situation along the southern Pacific coastal highway.

Walter Brenes, a lawyer with the Energy Law Firm (ELF), filed the injunction against the entities requesting they take immediate safety measures to prevent accidents on the bridge along Route 34 that spans the Tárcoles River, where daily large numbers of people gather to view crocodiles along the riverbanks.


The petition claims that the concentration of pedestrians along the narrow, and heavily transited bridge over the Tárcoles River endangers the safety of both the crocodile viewers and drivers.

Route 34, known as the Pacific Fernández Oreamuno, offers this unique spot, located about an hour and 15 minutes from San José. The Tarcoles River bridge makes for a convenient stretch break for beach-goers heading to Jacó or Manuel Antonio or beaches further south. From the bridge, it is very common to see huge crocodiles along the river’s banks, and the view has become an informal tourist attraction over the years.

After the law office filed administrative complaints regarding the perceived safety issues with the Municipality of Garabito, the MOPT and the DGT on February 14, no response has been given.

Brenes said he then proceeded to take his appeal for actions by authorities to make the crocodile viewing safe for all users of the bridge to the Costa Rican Constitutional Court on June 27.

“There are a lot of people who are exposed to danger, often standing on the edge of the bridge, on the railings, a short distance from the road, where high speed vehicles circulate. Without being aware of the dangers of falling into the river or into the road. This situation creates high risk conditions for possible accident by people and drivers.” said Brenes.

A resolution signed by Supreme Court Judge Fernando Cruz granted the institutions involved three working days  to respond to the appeal.

In the same document (CASE No. 17-009928-0007-CO), Judge Paul Rueda was appointed as lead judge on the case, in order to resolve the complaint filed by Brenes.

Energy Law Firm (ELF) is a law firm specializing in public and environmental law. It is led by its managing partner, Walter Brenes, who has broad experience in legal proceedings against the state and other public entities.

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