CUENCA DIGESTCobblestones forever! Cuenca’s new public works director says future repairs will be made to last

Sep 3, 2009 | 0 comments

Cuenca’s Public Works Department is launching an all-out assault on the city’s historic cobblestone streets. “For too long, we have resorted to patch-work fixes and these simply do hold up,” says Bolivar Alban, new public works director. “From now on, we will work from the foundation up when we make repairs.”

According to Alban, work began on Thursday.

The “foundation up” approach refers to plans to lay a concrete base beneath the cobblestones. Although the approach is used on larger repair projects, small repairs have traditionally been made using the old loose rock and soil base. Alban says this approach often lasts for only a few months.

Historic district residents have long-complained about noise and dust while taxi and bus drivers say loose cobblestones damage vehicle undercarriages.

Among the areas slated for repair are Calles Talbot, Gran Colombia, Tomas Ordonez, Mariscal Lamar and President Cordova. In total, the project will repair more than six miles of roadway. According to Alban, work on each street will take about 10 days.


Ecuador’s newest and most advanced neonatal intensive care unit has opened at Cuenca’s University Hospital del Rio. The directors of the facility, however, maintain that parental training will be just important for success as the high-tech equipment.

“Traditionally, units like ours are very expensive to operate,” says pediatrician Byron Piedra. “By involving the family in helping to care for low birth weight babies, we hope to keep costs low and the level of care high.” Piedra says the hospital expects to maintain costs at a level lower than other city health care facilities.

The program encourages parents of premature babies to be involved 24 hours a day. “We will encourage continual personal contact and breast feeding,” Piedra says. He adds that families will be supported by a medical team specialized in neonatology, psychology and nutrition.

The University Hospital, on the Autopista North, opened in the Spring. It is allied with the University of Boston medical school in the U.S.

The Cuenca Lions Club and Lions Club International is conducting “Skills for Life" workshops for school teachers in Azuay, Loja, Zamora and Pichincha provinces. The aim of the workshops, according to the Lions club, is to provide teachers with the skills to help children develop life skills based on values that strengthen self-confidence.

Program facilitator Tejera Maribel, says the program is divided into three levels: skills for growth from the second to seventh grades; skills for adolescence, from the seventh to ninth grades; and skills for action, from the tenth through twelfth grades.

“Beyond our general goals,” Maribel says, “we want to set up an environment to supports success through education. “We hope to develop and support a positive learning environment, teach social skills and thinking and engage parents to be education partners for their children.”

Photo caption: The historic district's cobblestone streets are part of Cuenca's heritage but they pose an on-going challenge to the public works department.



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