The Puerto Rico Science, Technology and Research Trust on Thursday offered details about the start of construction of Laboratory Road, a $10 million project that will be the main thoroughfare that will provide access to Science City facilities.
During a news conference, Science Trust officials also confirmed the start of the reconstruction of what will be the Environmental Quality Board’s (EQB) Environmental Research Laboratory, with an associated investment of $2.7 million.
Science City, which will house research and technology facilities, will help boost Puerto Rico’s competitiveness and excellence within the global knowledge economy, said Science Trust Executive Director Lucy Crespo.
The Laboratory Road project — which the Science Trust will finance and should be completed in October 2016 — consists of the construction of a two-lane road stretching from an intersection at De Diego Ave. in Río Piedras, to an intersection at Boulevard de las Ciencias (or Science Blvd.), near Puerto Rico Highway 21, she said.
“The project, which will be completed within a year, will include improvements to De Diego Ave. in Río Piedras and will open important access routes at the south end of Science City grounds, so as to broaden the possibilities for future developments,” said Crespo.
Gov. Alejandro Garcia-Padilla was on hand for the groundbreaking ceremony, saying the two projects will generate a combined 160 direct and indirect jobs.
“These projects…are intended to promote Puerto Rico in the technology and research and development industries,” García-Padilla said. “They join the development of the Comprehensive Cancer Center which, after an investment of $196 million, will have the capacity to integrate a variety of approaches to basic, clinical and epidemiological cancer research focused on the needs of the people of Puerto Rico and Latino communities in the United States.”
The Environmental Research Laboratory will be a first-rate facility that will house EQB labs, which will be outfitted with the latest equipment, instruments, and resources, thus optimizing the agency’s capabilities.
“With these new facilities the EQB will have a custom-made work space to address our particular needs and requirements, so as to carry out the tasks performed by our staff in a more agile, rigorous and accurate manner,” said agency President Weldin Ortiz.
“Our mission is to perform scientific research on environmental issues to better ensure protection of citizen health and wellbeing, as well as the preservation of our natural and environmental resources,” said Ortiz.
Science City is part of the Knowledge Corridor, the Science Trust’s emblematic project. It integrates the Río Piedras campus of the University of Puerto Rico, the Medical Sciences campus, the Río Piedras Medical Center, the Río Piedras Botanical Garden, the Comprehensive Cancer Center, and the Biomolecular Science Laboratory.
The master plan for this project was approved in 2004 and included Laboratory Road, which will create the infrastructure needed for all future developments.