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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Naranjito Cable-stayed Bridge to open to four lanes before summer ends

The Jesús Izcoa Moure Bridge is a cable-stayed bridge that connects Naranjito and Toa Alta and was built by Las Piedras Construction

By The Star Staff

Puerto Rico Highways and Transportation Authority (ACT) Executive Director Edwin González Montalvo said he expects to open the four lanes of the Naranjito Cable-stayed Bridge before the end of this summer.

The Jesús Izcoa Moure Bridge is a cable-stayed bridge that connects Naranjito and Toa Alta.

“The work on the Naranjito Cable-stayed Bridge is progressing extremely well. In December 2023, we opened two lanes, one in both directions. In turn, we are already working on the stays. The subcontractor specializes in these works, such as cable-stayed bridge repairs and maintenance of the stays and the bridge cables. At the same time, we are already doing the hydro demolition of the other two lanes for the summer of this year, opening the four lanes of the bridge two in both directions, as originally conceived,” the official reported.

The bridge had to be closed in January because of what appeared to be structural defects. HTA began to rehabilitate the bridge in a process whose cost is estimated at $25 million, a number very close to the cost of building it.

News reports found that the HTA failed to provide specialized preventative maintenance to the bridge over the years due to a lack of funding.

The closure of the bridge impacted many people as an average of 14,000 vehicles and trucks crossed it daily.

The bridge opened to the public in 2008 but an HTA inspection in 2009 found 21-centimeter ondulations. Two years later, a study found that traffic had to be restricted because of the ondulations. HTA restricted traffic to two lanes. Later, HTA found more structural deficiencies.

The cable-stayed bridge was built by Las Piedras Construction, which HTA did not question about the bridge’s failures and, on the contrary, continued to issue payments that closed the cost of the work at $31.8 million, or $4 million above the original estimate in 2002. The bridge’s structural deficiencies reached such a level that rehabilitating it will cost at least $25.9 million.

There is no document stating the cause of the ondulations.

The Puerto Rican House of Representatives investigated the matter, particularly the potential illegal actions involved in its construction. The investigation was led by the Puerto Rico House Committee for the Development and Oversight of Public Funds in the Northern Region, under the guidance of PDP representative Edgardo Feliciano.

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