Highway quick-fixes washed away as rainy season begins; Unused, unauthorized cables on utility poles targeted; Galapagos to host int’l plastics meeting

Jan 19, 2023 | 2 comments

Miércoles, 18/1/2023
Hola, Todos –

Titular –

Soluciones “parche” en vías se van con lluvias (“Bandage” solutions for roadways are going away with rains) – As the rainy season approaches, people along the vía Cuenca-Girón-Pasaje are worried that existing damage along the route connecting Azuay and El Oro are going to get worse. The road from Girón to Quera at the border of El Oro is in bad condition with potholes, subsidence and sinkholes that are affecting transit. There were 2 landslides over the weekend in the Narambote sector in Girón. Km. 39 was identified as a spot where a kind of temporary bypass was built around a large sinkhole <People were driving around the sinkhole on the uphill “shoulder” and the government made it an official bypass? Kind of.> and km. 41 has subsidence that is making circulation difficult. The stretch a few meters before the El Ramal sector at the entrance to Santa Isabel has collapsed and is affecting one lane. The Ministerio de Transporte y Obras Públicas is planning a comprehensive study to find definite solutions. <Wait until flying cars are on the market and get one for everyone in the country. Heavy cargo by helicopter. How’s that for pie in the sky?>

Cuenca – 

Recent rains have washed out “bandage” repairs to the Cuenca-Machala highway near Santa Isabel. (El Mercurio)

Monumentos vigilados para evitar agresiones (Monuments guarded to prevent aggressions) – The metal plaques on the bases of the statues along av. Fray Vicente Solano show scrapes where would be thieves scratch the plates to identify the type of metal and its purity. Two bronze plates on the base of the statue of Benigno Malo were stolen last week using prybars to remove the plaques. Plaques were made from different metals including bronze and even silver. Different sculptures are being monitored permanently <the ones with the silver plaques?>, and the Consejo de Seguridad Ciudadana (CSC) is discussing placing cameras similar to those in plazas, parks, and riverbanks.

Tapas de alcantarillas (Manhole covers) – For few years now, people have been stealing bronze or ductile iron manhole covers to melt them down and sell the metal. Josué Larriva, manager of water and sanitation for ETAPA, said this was common but less so since the manhole covers are now made of concrete and plated with metal. This was also a problem with catch basin grates which are now made with welded rebar <too cheap to steal>. However, the damage is taking other forms such as the theft of a control valve 3 times from a pressure reducing chamber in Guagualzhumi.

De El Mercurio del martes, 17/1/2023:
Más control a cables en postes (More control over cables on poles) – Throughout the city you can see cut and crossed cables without labels and meters of rollos o “tallerines” (coils or “noodles”) hanging from electrical power poles which are also used by cable operators.

Tito Torres <sounds like a musician in a Latin band>, executive president of the Empresa Eléctrica Regional Centrosur, said there is a technical standard that regulates physical aerial networks for telecommunications services that was published in agosto, 2017. But the regulations are not complied with starting with themselves, the Agencia de Regulación y Control de las Telecomunicaciones (ARCOTEL) and the municipal GADs. He said that they will be cutting unidentified cables on the reinforced concrete posts which can only support a predetermined weight. This will start next month when a control unit will start functioning. Controls will be carried out on service subscription contracts, although there are businesses which are using the infrastrucure without authorization. <So if you suddenly lose your internet, TV, etc. better check if your service provider is legitimate.>

Michael Cabrera, manager of telecommmunications for ETAPA, said that it currently has a fiber optic network of 1,586 km. of which 686 are underground. The rest are supported on poles including 6,657 belonging to ETAPA and those which are shared with the Empresa Eléctrica. ETAPA also has 3,175 km. of copper cable of which 1/2 is underground. He said that they are in the process of upgrading land line phones by merging them with fiber optics to decongest the cables. This will take a year and half. They would like to see all connections undergrounded as is being done in new construction and in road projects. Torres said that Centrosur (the electric company) will invest $6.3 million to underground 6 km. of networks in various cities in their service area of Azuay, Cañar and Morona Santiago.

In Cuenca they are looking at the clínica Santa Inés sector bounded by av. 12 de Abril, Solano, Remigio Crespo and Loja where they will also change the electrical voltage level to 22,000 volts at a cost of $3 million. He said undergrounding the utilities is the best solution for a tidy looking city, but the cost is 2 to 3 times that of pole mounted cables. Centrosur is in the process of planning a massive design for underground networks for the next 10 years. He added that to complete these goals, it is important to work as a team with the Gobierno Autónomo Descentralizado (GAD) of Cuenca. <In case you didn’t know, ETAPA is one of a bunch of municipal businesses.>

Mundo – 

Ecuador busca acuerdo global contra plásticos (Ecuador seeks global agreement against plastics) – Ecuador wants the globally binding agreement about plastic contamination to be celebrated in the Galápagos in 2025. These Ecuadorian islands are worldwide emblem of conservation and one of the largest protected marine reserves on the planet. The proposal to be the seat of the Treaty Convention to Combat Plastics and the respective Diplomatic Conference was announced by Pres. Lasso yesterday in a bilateral conference with the president of the Swiss Confederation, Alain Berset. Lasso indicated that the will and political leadership of governments is essential in the adoption of laws and national public policies as well as international agreements to allow us to reach environmental remediation and prohibition of unnecessary, damaging, and toxic plastics. Ecuador will preside over the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee on plastic contaminations starting el 12/23 until negotiations are finished.

Proyectos de energía limpia (Clean energy projects) – In Davos, where he is participating in the World Economic Forum, Pres. Lasso promoted various new clean energy projects. He is talking to various investors and promoting Ecuador’s portfolio of services, especially focused on strategic sectors. Pablo Arosemena, ministro de Economía y Finanzas signalled that the purpose is to attract investment, generate productive linkages, and financing to support the Govenment’s economic reactivation efforts. <I wonder if, as Banco de Guayaquil’s president, Lasso could have had a seat at the World Economic Forum, or if Banco de Guayaquil wasn’t big enough.>

And that’s all for today so Hasta ? –


Editor’s note: Jeanne’s Periodico is a translated digest of news from the Cuenca daily newspaper El Mercurio. If details, such as event dates and times, do not appear in the translation, they did not appear in the newspaper (please don’t ask her for them). The text between the carrots, or guillemets (< … >), is Jeanne’s personal opinion and not part of the news translation.


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