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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Rains cause bridge collapse in Yabucoa

Recent heavy rains, on top of flooding from Hurricane Fiona last month and Hurricane Maria five years ago, took their toll on the 50-year-old bridge.

By Alejandra M. Jover Tovar

Special to The Star

The combination of two troughs and the heavy rains they have unleashed on Puerto Rico caused the collapse of the bridge that connects the Jácana community with the Limones neighborhood of Yabucoa on Highway 920.

Miguel Ángel Flores Figueroa, director of Yabucoa’s Municipal Office for Emergency Management, said “that bridge has never had any problems.”

“It is quite old, more than 50 years old, and with Hurricane Maria and Fiona, it was always digging a little underneath in addition to these rains,” he said. “It has three beams, but this time one fell and collapsed the base. It took us by surprise.”

About 300 families were affected by the bridge’s collapse, but they were not cut off.

“There are alternate routes, and drivers would have to go up to the countryside to go down through other sectors,” Flores Figueroa said. “It complicates the day-to-day logistics, but it does not interrupt.”

For now, the municipality is working with the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the island Department of Transportation and Public Works to prioritize the area’s reconstruction.

“The processes are slow and take years to be funded,” the official said. “That is why we are trying to get them, or the central government, to speed up the construction of the bridge since it is one of the main roads in town. It keeps raining, and the country roads continue to deteriorate. If other roads are affected, the repair cost will be higher, and it will not be so easy.”

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