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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Naranjito bridge has received no preventive maintenance since 2008 opening

Highways and Transportation Authority Executive Director Edwin González Montalvo


Since it was inaugurated in 2008, neither the Highways and Transportation Authority (HTA) nor the Department of Transportation and Public Works have provided preventive maintenance to the Naranjito suspension bridge despite the fact that deficiencies in construction were known, it was revealed Wednesday in a public hearing in the island House of Representatives.

“The maintenance that was given was about flooding, weeding, cleaning it, basic maintenance. Not the specialized preventive maintenance that a structure of this sophistication requires. That’s what we’re talking about,” HTA Executive Director Edwin González Montalvo told reporters.

“The budget for the maintenance of [bridges] was practically zero,” he added. “We are not only investing to rehabilitate the bridge, but also to carry out a process so that when it is rehabilitated there will be a specialized company to give it the necessary preventive maintenance.”

González Montalvo also noted that in the file were found several letters (among others from the designer and the contractor Las Piedras Construction) in which it was warned that the bridge could not be opened to traffic because it was not safe.

Regarding the problem with the traffic jams that have formed since the bridge’s closure, González Montalvo acknowledged that a formal traffic study was not done, but rather there was an analysis of how many vehicles travel on the alternate routes.

On the possibility of keeping a lane of the bridge open while the work is completed, González Montalvo said that option has not been completely ruled out, but it will depend on the evaluation of the contractor.

The HTA chief made his statements after a public hearing held by the House Committee for the Development and Supervision of Public Funds of the Northern Region, which is investigating the controversy around the bridge, which was found to have been maintained, among other things, using cardboard.

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