Parsippany, N.J. — Acrow Bridge, an international bridge engineering and supply company, is in the process of assembling the last two of 14 bridges ordered as part of the reconstruction of Puerto Rico’s transportation infrastructure in the wake of Hurricane Maria in September 2017.
Acrow CEO Bill Killeen said, “Acrow has many years’ experience in creating and restoring transportation lifelines under extreme circumstances, but we have never worked under conditions as challenging and severe as those left by Maria. Now, nearly a year later, we are pleased to be coming close to the end of our role in the reconstruction of Puerto Rico’s transportation infrastructure.”
Because the rebuilding of Puerto Rico’s economy and civil services depended on a reliable and robust road system, establishing a safe and reliable transportation network to all areas of the island was a critical and immediate need. Providing survivors with urgently needed supplies and opening routes to transport the ill for medical care was the first priority, with a larger goal being the return to a pre-storm “normal” and reestablishing local commerce.
It soon became clear that fixing and replacing the island’s bridges would be a critical part of that effort. In the aftermath of Maria, nearly 400 of the 2,344 bridges in the inventory of the Puerto Rico Highway and Transportation Agency (PRHTA) were reported as damaged, with 26 having collapsed.
With more than three decades of experience in both public and private sector projects on the island, many of them emergency projects, the Acrow team quickly developed a plan, resulting in the supply of 12 bridges to PRHTA and two bridges to contractors working for Eastern Federal Lands, a part of the U.S. Department of Transportation.
Acrow received its first PRHTA order on October 12 and began shipping bridges to the agency in late October. Two other bridges, for the companies Design Build LLC and Constructora Santiago, contracted by Eastern Federal Lands, were constructed by end of March. Three additional bridges will be delivered and assembled using local construction services in the next few months.
Acrow’s part in the reconstruction of Puerto Rico’s transportation infrastructure took place in locations across the island, including the municipalities of Arecibo, Canóvanas, Ciales, Corozal, Mayagüez, Moca, Naguabo, San Germán, Utuado and Villalba.
“What we have been able to accomplish in the Commonwealth in less than a year is a testament to the hard work and dedication of our Acrow team in Puerto Rico as well as the cooperation we received from our partner agencies,” Killeen said. “However, my real admiration goes to the people of Puerto Rico, who showed enormous strength and courage during this enormous calamity that struck their island.
“Far greater than an assembly of components, bridges are part of a vital lifeline linking people and communities,” Killeen continued, speaking on behalf of all of his Acrow colleagues. “It was a privilege for Acrow Bridge, in our small way, to be of service to our fellow citizens and friends in Puerto Rico through being involved in the rebuilding of Puerto Rico’s infrastructure.”