Caracas - El Viaducto Finale
(only some pictures can be clicked for enlargements)

In a previous note, I reported that Venezuela was dealing with a problematic bridge along the major route from Caracas to the airport & the coast. I had put together a few picture pages to show everyone what the situation was... and why we were not traveling very much nor inviting many visitors. 
If you haven't seen them, take a peek at them when you have some time:

Caracas - The painful story of our viaduct

Caracas - A stressful trip over the Avila mountains

If you have seen those pages, then this is a continuation of those stories ....

Since the highway highway closed, traffic was terrible. Trucks carrying good from the port had a worse time. Passengers from the airport had to take any ride they could!

The bridge was originally kept open to foot traffic, but even that was deemed too dangerous.

The government finally opened an alternative road which bypassed the viaduct, but it was slow and scary. The beach was empty, business was hurt & people unhappy.

The engineering work that was done to shore up the bridge was negated by the moving ground.

The work ceased & everyone  waited for something to happen.

... the Cubans also had a plan!
Other countries offered help to Venezuela; 
most notably the Germans & the French, who have much 
experience in designing bridges that span vast areas...

The bottom line was that the beautiful viaduct, built in the 50's and celebrated as an engineering marvel, was now closed and there was little hope for recovery.

The blame lies not only with the current Govt., but also with those who ignored past problems.

I will now move to the morning 
of Sunday March 19th.

The most interesting 'activity' that was scheduled for this day was an American artist getting 'a few' people together to take some artistic photos... starting at 5am!

Some of us were talking about getting up to see 'the show' but we decided against it... it must have been quite interesting!

 The photos made the papers ... but so did something else!


Yup, you guessed it ... the day after the Ministers guaranteed that the viaduct would not totally collapse... the inevitable became a reality, and it fell to the ground.

On Saturday the ground moved almost 20 centimeters... and on Sunday at noon, there were a few cracking sounds and then...

People reported that the collapse happened so quickly that many missed seeing any of it!

Luckily the barrio beneath the viaduct had been vacated, so no one was hurt by the debris.

So we now wait until the new viaduct is ready, which has been advertised as 2007... but no one is holding their breathe over this!

We are also waiting to see how  the collapse of the bridge is tied to the United States... since the US always gets blamed for anything bad that happens here. The artistic photographer, or the CIA, will probably be blamed... quite an interesting place!