When Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico in September 2017, it was still recovering from the damage caused by Hurricane Irma only two weeks before. With sustained winds of 155 mph, it was the most intense hurricane to hit the islands since 1928. Preliminary assessment of the hurricane’s toll determined that the power grid was completely destroyed, leaving 3.4 million customers without electricity. Nearly 400 bridges in the inventory of the Puerto Rico Highway and Transportation Agency (PRHTA) were reported as damaged and 26 had collapsed.
Establishing a safe and reliable transportation network was an immediate requirement to enable critical access to remote rescue and repair sites for emergency workers and their equipment. A longer-term goal was to reconnect local communities to re-establish commerce and enable vital access to social amenities; bridge repair and replacement was seen as a critical enabler to ensuring successful rehabilitation.
Working with key personnel on the island, Acrow developed a plan that ultimately resulted in the supply of 14 bridges to PRHTA and 2 bridges to contractors working for Eastern Federal Lands, a part of the U.S. Department of Transportation. Shipping of the bridges began in October and construction and installation began in November 2017.
With a heritage of restoring transportation lifelines in emergency situations globally, and drawing on decades of experience working in partnership with both the public and private sector in Puerto Rico, Acrow is proud to have been able to help reconstruct Puerto Rico’s transportation infrastructure, leaving a legacy of connectivity which continues to serve local communities in numerous locations across the archipelago.