Construction of the $19 million mega project to revamp the busy Caparra Interchange System— where roads PR-2, PR-22 and PR-20 converge in Guaynabo — will begin Monday, local and federal government officials announced Thursday.
The project to be financed with local and U.S. Department of Transportation funding, will be rolled out in five phases during which roads are no expected to be closed, Guaynabo Mayor Héctor O’Neill said during a news conference accompanies by members of the Caparra Intersection Group comprised by merchants, contractors and representatives of Fort Buchanan.
Modernizing the busiest routes in the San Juan metropolitan is expected to take 90 days.
The Caparra Interchange System is where PR-20, Kennedy Avenue, Martínez Nadal Avenue, Roosevelt Avenue, and San Patricio Avenue meet just off the San Patricio Plaza shopping center in Guaynabo. Some 81,000 vehicles carrying 1.7 million passengers drive through the exchange daily.
The cost of the project is split as follows: $10 million from the U.S. Department of Transportation, $2 million from Guaynabo’s coffers; $5 million from the Puerto Rico Department of Transportation and Public Works; and $2 million from the Caparra Intersection Group.
The project entails adding a new lane in each direction, six additional ramps and transforming part of the existing intersection into a roundabout to redirect traffic without traffic lights. It also includes the construction of emergency lanes, resurfacing, modernizing the area’s traffic light system, new signage, a drainage system to prevent flooding in the area, and a mitigation plan to protect green areas, among other tasks that will add value to properties, O’Neill said.
“The project’s design takes into account the safety of pedestrians and the increased use of bicycles,” O’Neill said. “In addition, drivers and passengers will see a substantial savings in transport time, as well as in the cargo distributed from the port of San Juan.”
The revamped Caparra Interchange will reduce traffic congestion on the major access routes, as it will increase the average speed allowed during peak hours, from 14 miles to 25 miles per hour.
“The work will make the intersection a safer crossing, which will reduce the risk of traffic accidents in the area,” the municipal official said.
The Caparra Interchange System was built more than 50 years ago, when traffic was not as heavy as it is now, and neither was the area’s population, O’Neill said.
“We’re confident that when we finish the work, the driver will be on time to their destination, they will feel safer on the road and the area will experience economic growth,” O’Neill added.