By The Star Staff
Gov. Pedro Pierluisi Urrutia, along with Transportation and Public Works (DTOP by its Spanish acronym) Secretary Eileen Vélez Vega and Integrated Transportation Authority (ATI) Executive Director Josué Menéndez Agosto, announced the start of construction of a new $41.7 million ferry terminal in Ceiba on Monday.
“Since this four-year term began, I have been firm in my commitment to the people of Vieques and Culebra to improve their quality of life, expedite reconstruction projects, promote their sustainable economic development, and ensure the maritime transportation services that they deserve between the island municipalities and the big island,” the governor said.
“Today, we begin a large project to construct a new boat terminal in Ceiba that will provide a comfortable, attractive, and efficient experience for the residents of Vieques and Culebra who come to the big island, as well as for the thousands of visitors and tourists who travel to the island municipalities,” added Pierluisi, who was accompanied by the mayors of Vieques and Culebra, José Corcino Acevedo and Edilberto Romero Llovet, respectively; as well Ceiba Mayor Samuel Rivera Báez and Fajardo Mayor José Aníbal Meléndez.
Joel Pizá Batiz, the executive director of the Roosevelt Roads Local Redevelopment Authority Board, was also present at the groundbreaking.
Vélez Vega stated that “for us at the DTOP, this project is significant, since we are providing improvements in maritime transportation and quality of life to residents of the island municipalities of Vieques and Culebra, as well as their visitors.”
“Ceiba will have first-rate facilities, with a design [that emphasizes] resilience and service, thus offering the comforts and security that all users deserve,” she said.
The permanent construction project will have two main structures: a terminal and a multi-story parking lot, a covered arrival area with patios, and a ground-level parking lot. The passenger terminal building will be a three-story concrete structure of over 28,000 square feet, which will be elevated by about four feet to prevent possible flooding and protect it from damage in an emergency.