Gov. Ricardo Rosselló, flanked by Highways and Transportation Authority Executive Director Carlos Contreras-Aponte, announced several federally funded road repair projects representing an investment of more than $112 million.
“We are pleased to make this announcement, which will be a great benefit to all who travel on Puerto Rico roads,” Rosselló said, also accompanied by La Fortaleza infrastructure adviser, María Palou.
“An appropriate and well-preserved road system contributes to driver safety, better vehicle maintenance and therefore, the finances of individuals,” Rosselló said during a news conference at La Fortaleza.
Among the municipalities that will receive funds are: Naranjito, Barranquitas, Bayamon, Carolina, Canóvanas, Guaynabo, Naguabo, Río Grande, Salinas, San Juan, Santa Isabel, Toa Alta, Toa Baja and Yauco.
Contreras-Aponte specified that these projects call for the reconstruction of major roads, road safety improvements and repairs of bridges.
“These projects have been achieved through an effort that began earlier this year with an aggressive design that allows us to maximize the use of federal funds in rebuilding roads and, in turn, have an impact on the economy by creating more than 2,500 jobs. The bids for these projects will take place in September and October,” he said.
The Highways and Transportation Authority is working on an allocation of an additional $60 million before the end of the year for improvements to public roads, and another $100 million in federal funds during the first quarter of next year.
Breakdown of repairs
As part of the improvements to highway PR-52 in San Juan — better known as the Luis A. Ferré highway — the government will allocate $11.7 million to add lanes to handle traffic congestion, as well as variable toll lanes.
Another $10.7 million have been designated for the same purpose for another phase; and $7.7 million for a third phase of the capital’s main highway.
Meanwhile, the Luis A. Ferré will receive highway safety improvements from kilometer 49.00 to 52.30 and 55.30 to 61.00 in Salinas, due to federal assignments of $3.1 million and $3.3 million, respectively.
In addition, another $29.4 million will be equally split for pavement repairs on the same highway, but from kilometer 66.00 to 71.60 between Santa Isabel and Salinas, and between kilometer 71.60 and 77.00 in Santa Isabel.
The José de Diego highway in the towns of Bayamón and Toa Baja also received federal funds for these types of projects.
Some $685,000 has been earmarked to build sound barriers at the Los Almendros community, from kilometer 12.50 to 13.00 in Bayamón, and $1.2 million for kilometers 19.20 to 19.50, in the Paco Dávila sector in Toa Baja.
On the other hand, an amount was approved for security improvements to the PR-152 highway. Some $1.3 million were allocated for kilometers 13.65 to 20.50 and $1.8 million for kilometers 0.00 to 11.25, all located between the towns of Barranquitas and Naranjito.
Another federal assignment includes $15.4 million in safety improvements from km 0.00 to 10.00 on PR-20 in Guaynabo, better known as the Rafael Martínez Nadal Expressway, and $6.5 million for repairs between kilometer 0.00 and 20.00 on PR-66, better known as Roberto Sánchez Vilella Highway between Carolina, Canóvanas and Río Grande.
The Highways and Transportation Authority will also include improvements to bridges in Toa Alta, Naranjito, Yauco and Naguabo.
The 17 projects announced as part of the first round approved by the Federal Highway Administration, and were selected from the State Transportation Improvement Program, and are part of the Long Range Transportation Plan.
Projects that are part of the State Transportation Improvement Program had to be approved by the mayors who vote, along with certain government agencies related to transportation.
Meanwhile, reconstruction projects were selected through a scientific process called “Data Driven,” which characterizes road conditions and establishes priorities, the government officials said.