New Bridge in Rural Community Closed to Avoid Wearing Down
By Jesús Aguado
On May 28 this year, the local administration began the construction of one of its most important works, a vehicular bridge in the rural community of La Cuadrilla.
The construction is done and even blessed; however, the crossing cannot be used, “not even by people riding a bicycle,” to prevent its wearing down before the official inauguration. Neighbors also reported that a committee is forcing them to give a 200 peso donation to offer a “breakfast” to the authorities who will officially inaugurate the construction. The date is yet to be set.
Brisa Calderón, director of the local Social Development Department, told Atención that she knows of documents, some of them 20 years old, requesting construction like this bridge in indigenous rural communities. Most of these are isolated during the rainy season due to the strong currents of the Laja River. Sometimes the convenience stores do not have basic products, such as sugar, because vehicles are unable to cross the river.
Formerly, the only way to cross was to use a narrow wooden bridge which was part of the railroad. Fifteen years ago, the local administration constructed a decent pedestrian bridge to connect the communities, but that was not enough.
Atención talked with Carlos Herrera, a neighbor of the Capilla Blanca community, who said that the bridge is very necessary, but there is discomfort among the people because staff from the local Social Development Department is collecting forced “donations” of 200 pesos for the breakfast for the local, state, and federal authorities who will inaugurate the bridge.
A student, José Espinosa, walking near the new bridge said that the construction ended a month ago, “but we cannot use it because there is a man watching over it who does not allow crossing.” Before arriving at the bridge, there is a 40-meter trench in the road, so vehicles can’t pass through.
On the other side of the bridge is Vicente López, who says it is his job to watch over the bridge “because we want it to remain brand new for the official inauguration.” He was waiting for some transit signals that had not been placed yet. López made it clear that the committee was not forcing the 200 peso donation. “It is a voluntary donation,” he assured, saying that, “we thought we were going to collect more than 70,000 pesos, but we only collected 20,000.”
Brisa Calderón, on the other hand, denied that public servants from her department are asking for money for a breakfast. “The administration’s objective is to serve people, not take their money away.” Calderón said it was the initiative of the neighbors to close the bridge and not the administration’s. “It is not illegal, though, because the administration has not officially received the bridge from the contractors. They must provide the municipality with all the official papers so we can check that all is in order.” Calderón said she does not know when it will happen, but it has to be before this year ends.
Once the contractor hands over the bridge, the Social Development Department will consult Mauricio Trejo’s agenda and give a date for the inauguration. The bridge was a tripartite investment of 18 million pesos by local, municipal, and federal participation.