DTOP vows to rebuild Puerto Rico roads with $299M FEMA allocation
To date, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has obligated nearly $299 million to the Department of Transportation and Public Works (DTOP, in Spanish) to repair damage and optimize state roads and bridges. This includes nearly $92 million approved during 2021 to address infrastructure in nearly 30 municipalities.
The obligations represent permanent work projects to address more tha 250 damaged areas across the island’s roads and bridges.
“Together with the government of Puerto Rico, we’re committed to helping repair, modernize and strengthen road safety on the island’s highway network. Each project that receives a funding obligation from our agency brings us closer to that goal,” said FEMA Federal Disaster Recovery Coordinator José G. Baquero.
An element that deals with highway safety is the replacement and installation of thousands of road signs that were affected by Hurricane María. To that end, the agency earmarked over $28.3 million for a project to replace signs on 238 highways in Puerto Rico, extending 496 miles from San Juan to Aguadilla.
DTOP confirmed that more than 300 signs and poles have been removed, while the installation of signs and plaques exceeds 3,000 units. The installation of signs in the Ponce and Guayama regions will begin soon, while the manufacturing of signs for the Humacao region continues.
The production of road signage “represents a positive impact on the manufacturing sector, since some are made by contractors in Humacao, Guayama, Mayagüez and Ponce,” the agencies said.
In addition, more than $3.5 million was allocated to repair several roads in the central part of the island. This obligation includes $1.8 million to rebuild three segments of PR-612 in Utuado, including a three-span bridge that suffered severe damage and serves as the main road for residents of the Don Alonso and Caonillas Abajo neighborhoods. It also includes $1.6 million to repair nine segments of PR-531 in Jayuya.
More than $4.7 million was allocated to DTOP to repair several sections of PR-742 and PR-738 in Cayey. Furthermore, repairs will be completed on the PR-7731 Road in Cidra which provides access to main roads and businesses for about 9,000 residents of the Carite, Vegas, Montellano and Quebrada Arriba neighborhoods.
To prevent landslides due to excessive rainfall, the existing embankment fill on these roads will be replaced with gabion walls. The work also includes the construction of concrete curbs and gutters, the replacement of drainage pipes, and the installation of several segments of guardrails. An allocation of about $19,000 for mitigation works will allow for permanent solutions to be implemented and prevent similar damage.
“Commitment to the restoration of the main public roads is our north. Every day we face new challenges and we do not stop to achieve this and complete our established goals. We continue working tirelessly to provide thousands of drivers with safe roads in good condition, where they can reach their destinations without inconveniences,” said DTOP Secretary Eileen M. Velez-Vega.