Merchants in Piñones call for repairs to vital roadway
By John McPhaul
Several merchants in Piñones raised their voices on Tuesday to demand that the road that connects various businesses with Highway PR-187 be fixed.
They said the deterioration as well as the terrible state of the road hinders the receipt of supplies and affects both visitors and the merchants themselves, as well as representing a safety problem, said Christopher Sánchez, spokesman for the affected merchants.
“This situation is unsustainable and since the pandemic began we have communicated the information to the mayor of Loíza. However, up to now we are still waiting for a response,” Sánchez said in a written statement. “Likewise, we call on the secretary of the Department of Transportation and Public Works [DTOP by its Spanish acronym] to visit the area and experience firsthand the ordeal experienced by those who travel in the area.”
“The poor condition of the roads is a safety problem for those of us who work in the area as well as for those who visit the area,” he added.
Sánchez said the problem with the road worsens at night since there is little lighting, and also worsens when it rains. “When it rains the situation is worse because the holes fill with water and if the [driver] does not know the place, he can have a major accident,” he said.
He noted that the merchants agree that the condition of the road affects them directly, since customers prefer to go to other places to avoid the poor state of the road. “Everyone knows the difficult situation that small and midsize businesses have been going through since Hurricanes Irma and Maria, the earthquakes, and the pandemic,” Sánchez said. “There are thousands of dollars in losses recorded by our businesses having to do with the poor state of the road.”
The merchants asked Loíza Mayor Julia Nazario Fuentes and DTOP Secretary Eileen Vélez Vega to address the situation urgently and identify short- and long-term solutions. They said that in the past they have tried to resolve the situation, but their attempts have been frustrated because they lack the necessary machinery for the asphalt work, among other reasons.
They also said they are willing to meet and work on an action plan together with the island and municipal governments, for which reason they requested an emergency meeting with the two officials.
“We need to know what the action plans are and how the municipality and the Department of Transportation and Public Works are going to handle this issue that translates into losses for the local economy in the area,” Sánchez said.