Million-Dollar Allocation from FEMA to Rebuild Municipal Roads

Guaynabo, Puerto Rico – Residents of several communities in the towns of Yabucoa, Lares and Orocovis will benefit from repairs to more than ten municipal roads, following the allocation of over $12 million from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for damage after Hurricane María. 

These allocations are part of nearly $1.8 billion earmarked for bridges and roads projects in all of the municipalities in Puerto Rico.

“Roads provide access to various needs of the population, especially during times of emergency. These reconstructions will guarantee greater safety for the communities because, in addition to repairs, they will include measures to prevent future damage in the event of other natural events,” explained Federal Disaster Recovery Coordinator José Baquero.

The municipality of Yabucoa received an allocation of over $6 million to repair nine roads that provide access to state roads 918, 920 and 182. These repairs will provide safer traffic for around 300 families in the Calabazas neighborhood. Although the road is still in use, drivers must use caution to avoid landslides and in certain sites cars can only pass in one direction to avoid landslides.

In addition to asphalt and infrastructure repairs, over $2.1 million of this allocation will go to mitigation measures to prevent erosion, which include the installation of gabion walls with netting to support drainage; wider gutters to increase and redirect water collection; as well as wingwalls and a catch basin with grate.

Other roads within these allocations are the Cooperativismo and Regino roads in the municipality of Lares, which have over $4.1 million and will benefit nearly 50 families of the Castañer village, which is located at a considerable distance from downtown. Repairs to these roads include replacing asphalt and repairing the embankment with a gabion wall. Funds within the project include over $1 million for mitigation: roadside swales will be installed to help reduce rain runoff and the gabions will now be green to help protect the road from erosion.

Likewise, the municipality of Orocovis has over $1.8 million in agency funds for the restoration of one of its municipal roads off of PR-1155. The repair has over $215,400 for hazard mitigation measures that will reduce erosion, such as adding an infiltration trench along the roadway and planting live stakes and deep-rooted grass over embankments.

Six years after Hurricane María, Puerto Rico has over $31.3 billion in FEMA allocations for nearly 10,800 projects that will address its reconstruction. Of these, over 6,400 projects are aimed at the recovery of municipalities, for a total of over $4 billion.

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