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Friday, January 16, 2009

The collapse of the Mury-Lumiar Road

Today it is raining again. This rain, at this time of year, always brings back to me with some trepidation the landslides that we often have during the summer months and how it is possible for whatever man has built below goes right along under a massive pile of mud and boulders. For example in late summer 2005, it rained continuously for days on end and the mountainsides started sliding and about 4 km from the house a portion of the road to Lumiar came down – I mean a crater of about 200 meters across opened up in the middle of the night – taking with it about 8 homes and a good chunk of road. That same weekend along the road to Lumiar 3 other spots opened or threatened too, and the complete road was closed to traffic. All the farmers and other country people that depend on this road to get to market and to buy supplies had to walk miles to catch the busses that were unable to go past the first slide.

Camillo and I (and our grandchildren for the USA) were fascinated with the construction to replace the road. It was completed within four months. Considering how badly the roads are normally built and maintained this repair was top notch engineering. (We won’t say it should have been done this way to begin with) It has to instill admiration, the determination and quick action that the government of the State of Rio de Janeiro brought to this project.

In less than a month the remaining parts of homes had been removed, (much of it by the owners who hauled it away on carts to use in their next house), and high retainer wall with a temporary bypass was completed. One lane of traffic could pass, allowing the much needed busses to get by while the new road was being completed. We watched it go up and I would say that it will not come down again for a few 100 years.

[I have been reassured that our house which sits on the side of a pretty awesome hillside, WILL NOT come down – something about piles that were driven down to bed rock……hum… that was a very big hole which could easily swallow house, piles and all]

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