The San Juan Daily Star
Businesses threatened by slow pace of landslide response
By The Star Staff
Dozens of small and midsize businesses could cease to exist if government officials do not immediately open Highway 831 in the Minillas neighborhood of Bayamón to the public, United Retailers Association (CUD by its Spanish acronym) President Lourdes M. Aponte Rodríguez said Wednesday.
Landslides caused by the passage of Hurricane Fiona blocked the highway, and the government has yet to clean up the debris.
“The call is to speed things up because there is no time to wait,” the CUD leader said. “We call on the mayor of the Municipality of Bayamón, Ramón Luis Rivera Cruz, and the executive director of the Highways and Transportation Authority [HTA], Edwin E. González Montalvo, to rehabilitate highway 831 in the Minillas neighborhood as soon as possible. Many heads of families have businesses there that depend on that sustenance to support their families and supply the residents of the place with basic necessities. In addition, this closed road makes it impossible to reach regular customers, places such as the Bayamón Regional Hospital, putting the community’s health at risk.”
The merchants said that while the mayor has been looking into the situation, landslides continue to occur, further obstructing the roadway. The HTA is going to carry out a soil study because two houses are about to collapse as the land continues to give way under them.
Area stores have seen their sales drop by 60% to 70%, the merchants said.