Only half of Puerto Rico’s traffic lights work
SAN JUAN – While more than 100 days have passed since Hurricane Maria left a path of destruction across Puerto Rico, traveling by car still leaves many drivers breathless as they maneuver through the many intersections left with damaged traffic lights.
With a lack of traffic lights at intersections and the risk this situation entails, the island still has a ways to go before parts arrive to repair and restore the island’s power system.
The secretary of Transportation & Public Works, Carlos Contreras, said Thursday that some 615 traffic intersections are already working, but that figure is only half of the 1,200 around the island.
There are about 220 “functional” traffic lights, but they have to be powered up by the Electric Power Authority before they are operational, according to a written statement.
“Although we have had to [write up] purchase orders for materials from the United States, because there are parts that are not available in Puerto Rico, as these materials arrive, we have made progress with other repairs. However, there are cases of intersections with traffic lights that have already been repaired, but depend on other factors to make them work,” the secretary added.
In this regard, Contreras explained: “To date, for example, we have 220 intersections with additional traffic lights that have already been repaired, and are only waiting for the re-establishment of electric power so they can work. Another 66 intersections are pending, as we receive the pieces that were ordered, but were already impacted by our agency. Similarly, there are some traffic lights that may not be in perfect physical condition, but we were able to make them work.”
The executive director of the Highways & Transportation Authority said that “practically 100% of the traffic lights in Puerto Rico were affected by Hurricane María.”