The Paseo del Caño Sur Project in Israel-Bitumul was preselected by the Central Office of Recovery, Reconstruction and Resiliency, known as COR3, to access federal funds from the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program- Section 404 of the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
If selected, the Paseo del Caño Sur, which requires an investment of $66 million, would be financed in its entirety by federal funds, given that the government of Puerto Rico has agreed to finance the required 25% matching funds from CDBG funds, said Lucy Cruz, president of the G-8, the organization of community leaders who represent the eight communities that border the Caño Martín Peña in San Juan.
“The Project’s importance is evident since it helps to improve the health and safety of the communities surrounding the Caño and San Juan,” said Cruz, adding that the preselected project helps to mitigate flooding of untreated sewage water, which is why it will also benefit the environment, she explained.
She added that the project will also directly benefit some 20,000 residents of the communities that border the Caño. Due to the obstruction of this body of water, these communities are constantly exposed to flooding from untreated sewage water whenever there is rain.
The project will help reduce the frequency and magnitude of flooding events and the damage they cause, as well as the volume of the discharge of untreated sewage water combined with the overflow of rainwater thus protecting from the area from the impact of 100-year flood events, she said.
“This will also help improve public health not only in the Caño communities but also in the sectors of San Juan and Carolina that are near the San José and Corozos Lagoons,” she added.
The Paseo del Caño Sur Project includes construction of rainwater, sanitary sewer and potable water infrastructure and the road that will border the Caño. This road will contribute to further mitigate the impact of flooding in the area in addition to providing the public with access to the Caño in that sector.
Cruz explained that the Paseo del Sur Project is a “is a critical step that brings us closer to the dredging of the Caño.”
“We feel good about the possibility of being selected because, in addition to the project’s strong merits in terms of mitigating risks linked to flooding, contamination and public health, the design and permit phase is well advanced,” she said.
Paseo del Caño Sur includes three phases:
- Phase I of the Project is ready for construction and includes infrastructure to collect rainwater, sanitary sewer and potable water lines in addition to construction of the road Paseo del Caño in the northern part of Israel-Bitumul;
- Phase II is in design and provides for the construction of infrastructure to collect rainwater and includes sanitary sewer and potable water lines in the south part of Israel-Bitumul; and,
- Phase III includes construction in the Cuba alley, located in the eastern part of Israel-Bitumul.
The Paseo el Caño Sur Project is part of a group of 525 proposals that have been preselected from more than 3,191 projects that were presented to COR3 for funds from FEMA’s Hazard Mitigation Program.
The ENLACE Project Corporation of the Caño Martín Peña has until Sept. 25 to file a formal proposal with COR3. Projects will then be evaluated by the agencies to make a final selection, she said.