• The Star Staff

DTOP chief refutes charges of slacking off on Guánica roadwork


By John McPhaul

jpmcphaul@gmail.com


Transportation and Public Works (DTOP by its Spanish acronym) Secretary Eileen Vélez Vega rejected on Monday allegations made by the “Defend Guánica” citizens group, through its spokesperson, Liduvino Padilla, to the effect that DTOP has stopped repair work on highway PR-116 in Guánica.


“We are greatly surprised by the erroneous statements made by some members of the community in Guánica, even more so when at all times we have maintained close and continuous communication with the mayor of the municipality, Honorable Ismael Rodríguez Ramos, who has been very attentive to the progress of this road rehabilitation,” Vélez Vega said in a written statement. “We do not know the origin of the charges made by these people, as well as the motivation behind publishing faulty information, but I want to make it absolutely clear that at no time has any directive or order been issued to stop the work in that way. My commitment has been from the beginning to attend to all the needs on the highways and we are working with the mayors, who have signed a commitment with me to provide better road safety to the hundreds of drivers who use the roads in Puerto Rico.”


The engineer said the reconstruction work continues on pace, and also pointed out the dozens of kilometers that have been repaired and completed. The project is being carried out under various road repair programs, including Abriendo Caminos and the federal Federal Highway Administration program, given its importance to the community and the municipality, Vélez Vega said.


PR-116, which connects the southwestern municipalities of Lajas and Guánica, has developed road safety problems. The reconstruction work has been conducted in several phases that include, from kilometer 0.0 to 3.0 and from kilometers 3.0 to 14.0 in Lajas, along with kilometers 14.0 to 26.6 in Guánica.


“The road repair work has not stopped,” Vélez Vega reiterated. “We continue working on the reconstruction of the road and this will be completed as proposed in the original project.”


Guánica Mayor Ismael Rodríguez Ramos stressed, “I don’t know where the information comes from, nor do I know the person identified in the statement.”


“We are pleased with the communication with the secretary and work is currently being carried out in the Guánica jurisdiction on highway PR-116,” he said.