The capitol – Aware of the need to provide some type of lighting to state highways in rural areas, the representative of the New Progressive Party (PNP), José ‘Memo’ González Mercado, announced on Thursday the filing of a resolution that seeks to make viable the creation of a Five Year Plan for the installation of direct lighting fixtures, known as the ‘Cat’s Eyes’, as well as reflective paint and new signage.
“Many of the highways in our Arecibo and Hatillo districts, as well as the vast majority of the rolling roads in rural areas, have little or no lighting, there are no utility poles from the Electric Power Authority. Traveling on these roads, many of which have multiple curves in rapid proximity, represents a danger for drivers at night. Given this, we have to be creative and start, immediately, an action plan that can mitigate this situation. For this, we are presenting for consideration a Five-Year Plan that will correct the deficiencies without involving large amounts of money, ”commented the representative for District 14 of Arecibo and Hatillo.
The measure, which will be filed next Monday, together with the beginning of the first ordinary session of the House of Representative, will order the head of the Highways and Transportation Authority (ACT) to develop the aforementioned plan in a period no longer than the 180 days.
The legislative piece also establishes that the first phase of the program will begin in the municipalities of the northern region of the Island at some point this year.
The legislator said that he will have conversations with the new heads of ACT and the Department of Transportation and Public Works in order to join forces in this new and necessary initiative.
“In Puerto Rico there are over 14,000 kilometers of road, many of these in rural areas such as fields and mountains, which do not have lighting. With this Plan the problem would be solved. The installation of these cat eyes would be the first phase, as they are easy to install and relatively inexpensive. The price per eye reflector varies by size, but averages $ 5 per unit. This is a more than worthy investment, it is essential. How many lives could be saved with this? ”Added González Mercado.
According to data from the Police Bureau, in Puerto Rico there are around 20 fatal accidents per month during the past two years (2019 and 2020).
Almost half of these occur on highways in mountainous sectors and at night.
The so-called cat’s eyes are high-lighting reflectors that are placed on the taxiway to mark it with great lighting.
“Reflective paint has a real effective duration of up to 10 years, hence the need to complement it with cat’s eyes, as well as install new reflective signage, particularly in areas with curves and marked slopes. Painting the security fences should also be a priority, ”said the New Progressive legislator.
The Plan also allows ACT to establish agreements with any department, agency, instrumentality, public corporation or subsidiary thereof, educational institution, the Government of the United States of America or private entity, in order to achieve the objectives set. in the Plan.