General

Viaduct Situation

This is a general information blog post written for our fellow visitors of the Caracas Trollparty 2006 and to my friend Damog. I know you might be travelling into our Country on January and February, 2006, and most likely all your travelling details will be arranged in advance, but since I’m not a defender of security by obscurity, this tries to explain what’s happening.

The city of Caracas is isolated into the Avila Valley, in the North-Central part of our Country. It’s connected with a highway to the East (the Autopista de Oriente) and two highways to the West/South-West (the Autopista Regional del Centro and Carretera Panamericana). The Caracas-La Guaira Highway connects Caracas with the city of La Guaira, in the coast of the Vargas State. Near La Guaira there’s the Maiquetia town, which hosts the Int’l Airport Simón Bolívar, where you will most likely be arriving.

At 0800 (Venezuelan Legal Time UTC-0400) this moing, the viaduct #1 of the Caracas – La Guaira Highway was officially closed to the public. At 0840, the National Emergency Plan was activated, by direct orders of the Justice and Homeland Minister. At 0900, the Infrastructure Minister informed that the transit through this viaduct was closed due to fractures in the main deck of the structure.

Since the traffic on the Caracas-La Guaira Highway is closed due to the fracture of the deck in Viaduct #1, the following alteatives will be offered by you either by your sponsors in Venezuela, or by civilian or military authorities if you have to catch up on your own:

  • Travel by air to the city of Valencia, which is about 2 hours away from Caracas using the Autopista Regional del Centro. This is, as of now, your best option, since you’ll be arriving into an Int’l Airport (the Arturo Michelena Int’l) and the ARC highway is in fair conditions. Cons is that you or your sponsor might have to pay an extra for the Caracas-Valencia airplane ticket.
  • Travel by air into the La Carlota Airbase, the Higuerote Airport or the Caracas Airport. To be realistic, this ain’t gonna happen. La Carlota Airbase, as of February, 15th. 2005, is closed to fixed-wing airplane operations, and is a military airbase, though it has a 1850 meters runway. Higuerote Airport is a no-no, since it has a small runway and is not ready for accepting inteational passengers. Caracas Airport (which is a private-use airport) has nice installations, but is overwhelmed with current airtraffic from SVMI and SVFM.
  • Travel by air in a helitaxi from SVMI to SVFM. This is a good option. Cons are that it’s not-that-cheap, yet it will be the faster and safer way to take you to the City.
  • Travel by car in public transportation to the viaduct #1, cross it by feet and take another public transportation to Caracas. This is a good option if it’s implemented by Govement or the Airlines. If not, don’t do it, specially at night.
  • Travel by car in the alteative ways. The safer alteative way is the Carayaca road. Most taxi drivers of the airport will take this way to Caracas. It lasts about three hours, and the taxi fee might be between 60K and 100K bolívares, which is between 30 and 50 USD. Most likely you’ll be ordered to share the cab with other people. The next way is the Old Caracas-La Guaira Highway. This is the fastest way to arrive Caracas currently by car (it could take an hour) and is under heavy patrolling by the Armed Forces, yet is not a good road. Another way is the Higuerote coast road, which I wouldn’t recommend, and finally the Galipan road, which goes up the Avila Mountain and down again to the Valley. National Guard is protecting the site and you won’t be able to ride in a single traction 4×2 vehicle.

Again, please note: this is not official information. Situation might change in the next hours or days. Please monitor local minute-by-minute news (in spanish) and govement news (in spanish). If you like, there’s another brief services guide provided by a local newspaper. Please note that the Govement or the Airlines may implement another good option and this order of options might change abruptly. Also note that most likely your sponsors in Caracas will be arranging your transportation, so you don’t have to worry that much about this.

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