Following an allocation of $8.7 million in federal funds disbursed by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), the Puerto Rico Highways and Transportation Authority (ACT, per its Spanish acronym) will repair the traffic lights at 720 intersections affected by Hurricane María.
Gov. Ricardo Rosselló and ACT Executive Director Carlos Contreras made the announcement, saying the repair work has already begun by local contractors.
“Virtually 100 percent of the traffic lights in Puerto Rico suffered damages due to Hurricane María. These devices, installed at 1,200 intersections across the island, play a key role in the safety and correct flow of traffic on our roads, so their repair has always been a priority for our administration,” said Rosselló.
Since the week the hurricane made landfall, ACT staff has been doing inspections and estimates, and directing all the information to the federal agency to request the necessary funds for a prompt repair, he said.
“Thanks to this effort, we can announce today that the FHWA approved the funds for the repair of the traffic lights at the first 720 intersections, and the ACT has signed the contracts for those repairs, many of which are already being implemented,” the governor added.
Contreras explained “the process to evaluate the damage at the traffic lights has been more complex than usual, due to the lack of electrical power at the intersections.”
“Even if visual inspections were done to determine if the traffic lights suffered damage to their surfaces, or if their casings were affected, it was important to verify if their electrical and lighting system had also been affected,” he said.
“Given this situation, we had to use electric generators in most of the 1,200 intersections to test the traffic lights and be able to make a correct assessment of the damage,” Contreras added.
“Once this process was completed, we met with the directors of the FHWA, both here and in Washington, D.C., and we obtained the approval of the funds to repair the traffic lights at the first 720 intersections,” he said, noting that the government’s expectation is to obtain the approval of the funds to complete the repairs at the 480 remaining intersections.