Gov. Ricardo Rosselló broke ground on the construction of two reversible lanes that will connect highway PR-18 at the Río Piedras Medical Center and PR-30 in Gurabo, at a cost of $174 million.
The first phase of this project, which seeks to significantly alleviate vehicular traffic, is expected to create 997 direct, indirect and induced jobs, and will take about two years to complete, he said, flanked by Department of Transportation and Public Works Secretary Carlos Contreras.
“This first phase of five in total, will be carried out with an investment of $39.9 million and consists of three units — the construction of four bridges, LED lighting systems, and the construction of U-Turn routes to facilitate access to emergency situations,” Rosselló said, adding this this phase will run from Montehiedra to PR-175.
For decades, thousands of drivers who travel along the route between San Juan and Gurabo, crossing the Luis A. Ferré Expressway, have faced huge traffic jams in both directions.
“This has a devastating effect on people’s physical and emotional health, and on our environment by having vehicles emitting polluting gases during longer time on the road,” he said.
“This also affects our economy. So, this project means more than building road access and connections between municipalities: it’s an important step to achieve a better quality of life,” Rosselló said.
Meanwhile, Contreras said, “this type of reversible lanes project is known as dynamic toll lanes (DTL) and has proved highly effective. The best example is PR-22 from Toa Baja and Cataño, which is used daily by thousands of drivers in both directions.”
He said the reversible lanes will have varying tolls, as used in Toa Baja, but clarified that it is not an additional toll because, as in Toa Baja, using the reversible lane is optional. Once this lane toll is paid, the driver is exempted from payment of the original toll, in this case, in Caguas Norte.
Once this project, with bridges, ramps and exits for easy and quick access to and from PR-52 and PR-30 roads — is completed “many will want to establish new businesses in the area,” Contreras said.
“It will also be easier for law enforcement, rescue and health care agencies to reach their destinations and transport affected people to medical facilities along the entire route,” Contreras said.
The project is part of the government’s “Abriendo Caminos” initiative to fix Puerto Rico’s roads.