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US Army Corps of Engineers allocates $230M for Puerto Rico waterways improvements

The US Army Corps of Engineers has assigned some $230 million for improvements to the Caño Martín Peña, the San Juan Bay, and the Culebrinas River, as part of the Biden Administration’s Infrastructure Act.

Of that amount, $163 million will go to restore the Caño Martín Peña and the nearby areas of the San Juan Bay Estuary.

“This project will greatly improve the health and quality of life of the residents of all the communities near the Caño. It is a priority project of my administration, and I will continue to assign the necessary resources until it is completed,” Gov. Pedro Pierluisi said.

The allocation will strengthen port and river supply chains, as well as climate resilience. The local investment is part of a $14 billion allocation from the federal government for fiscal year 2022 for more than 500 projects across 52 states and territories.

The Caño Martín Peña and San Juan Bay Estuary restoration project will significantly improve the health and well-being of surrounding communities in San Juan by reducing exposure to polluted water and sediment, improving water quality, and restoring marine life and mangrove habitat.

The USACE allocation includes another $26 million for the Culebrinas River flood control project in the towns of Aguada and Aguadilla. The project — which includes levees, paving, and new drainage structures along the riverbed — will have a significant impact on the area’s communities, which for years have suffered from its flooding.

This project is expected to provide resilience and protect the life and property of more than 120,000 residents and 800 structures at risk in these towns in northwestern Puerto Rico, the governor said.

USACE also allocated $45 million for the construction phase of the Port of San Juan Navigation Improvements Project, managed by the Puerto Rico Ports Authority. The funds granted will support the first construction contract of the project. The estimated total investment amounts to $60 million, of which $15 million will be provided by the agency.

“The San Juan Bay Project is one of utmost importance to improve the navigation and docking channels in the Port of San Juan by deepening and widening the channels, accomplished by dredging,” Pierluisi said.

“In addition, it will contribute to more efficiency in the existing and future movement of vessels, solve navigation restriction problems, and present new opportunities for the economic development of the island,” he added.

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This story was written by our staff based on a press release.

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