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Number 3


Impact of Hurricane Maria on the

Transportation Infrastructure of Puerto Rico



Puente EL

Vol. 31 No. 3, 2017


Pages 4-7
Message from the Director 3

Impact of Hurricane Maria on the Road Infrastructure

Impact of Hurricane Maria on the
Transportation Infrastructure of Puerto Rico

EDC-4 Promotes Data Driven Safety Analysis 8-11

Pages 8-11
TIFIA: Innovate Alternative for the
Fuente: http://
Transportation Infrastructure Finance with 12-15

Potential Applicability to Puerto Rico EDC-4 Promotes Data Driven Safety Analysis

Innovations in Materials for Highway


Pages 20-21
Intelligent Transportation Systems
Against Wrong Way Driving
Know your Trainer: Dr. Pedro J. Tarafa Velez 22
Intelligent Transportation Systems
Against Wrong Way Driving

Decade of Action for Road Safety Pledge 23

Vol. 31 No. 3, 2017
The Puerto Rico Transportation Technology Transfer Center, PRLTAP/T , is part of a network of 58 Centers
throughout the United States that comprises of the Local Technical Assistance Program (LTAP) and Tribal
Technical Assistance Program (TTAP). The mission of the PRLTAP/T2 Center is to provide training and technical
assistance to local transportation officials of the 78 municipalities that comprises the Government of Puerto Rico,
and the Department of Transportation and Public Works of Puerto Rico, with emphasis on promoting a highway
safety culture and in the implementation of the USDOT FHWA Every Day Counts (EDC) initiatives. • EL PUENTE NEWSLETTER VOL.31 NO.3, 2017 3

Message from the Director

W elcome! Best advances with relevance to the road infrastructure, namely

regards to all our high friction surface treatment, roman concrete and

readers in the third edition of carbon fibers with reinforced polymers, respectively.

the 31st Anniversary of the These technologies have been developed as a result of the

Newsletter El Puente! needs, budgetary challenges of the agencies in charge of

construction and rehabilitation of the roads infrastructure
The feature article of this and the scientific advances to develop and improve the
edition of the El Puente Newsletter is dedicated to the quality of such materials.
impact caused by the passage of Hurricane Maria on
the transportation infrastructure of Puerto Rico. The The fifth article, Intelligent Transportation Systems to

impacts on roads, intersections, bridges and ports are Combat Traffic, exposes a rare type of collision with

described as well as the federal aid assigned for the serious consequences associated with drivers traveling

recovery of the island’s infrastructure. against traffic and the technology that have been
developed to address this potential front end collision.
The second article is dedicated to Data Driven Safety
Analysis initiative. This initiative, which is part of the Finally in the Know Your Trainer section, the PRLTAP/

Fourth Round of FHWA’s Every Day Counts (EDC-4) T2 Center is proud to recognize Dr. Pedro J. Tarafa Vélez,

projects, consists of the transportation decision process Associate Professor of the UPRM at the Department of

of safety countermeasures which have the potential of Civil Engineering and Surveying and expert in the areas

reducing fatal crashes and injuries. In the article the of environmental engineering and water resources. Dr.

purpose of the EDC-4 initiative and various existing Tarafa Vélez has presented a course pertinent to

tools being used by states DOT’s and its territories are transportation, entitled Preventing Runoff Pollution and

described. Best Management Practices Under the New MS4 Permit

of 2016.
The third article presents a successful lending and
financing program denominated the Transportation I hope the articles presented in this edition will be of

Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA). benefit to our local collaborators in transportation in

The article shows the different types of federal aid, Puerto Rico. It is our intent to share and continually

eligibility criteria and the necessary review and update innovative transportation research initiatives,

application process offered by the TIFIA program are especially Every Day Counts (EDC), in our mission to

described. Finally projects that have benefited from the promote highway safety, workforce development and the

TIFIA loan program are presented. management of transportation infrastructure.

Our fourth article is aimed at innovation in materials

for road infrastructure. It presents three innovative Benjamín Colucci Ríos

Source: Source: NOAA

Impact of Hurricane Maria on the

Transportation Infrastructure of Puerto Rico

aria, a category five (5) hurricane, just prior to its imminent
impact to Puerto Rico, made landfall on Wednesday, September
20, 2017. According to the National Hurricane Center (NHC),
organization attached to the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric
Administration (NOAA), the center of Hurricane Maria made landfall by the
municipality of Yabucoa at 6:15 am, with maximum sustained winds of 155
mph (250 km / h). The hurricane continued a diagonal trajectory through the
center of the island and left through the municipality of Arecibo at 2:00 pm
on the same day. The hurricane continued its trajectory towards the countries
of Dominican Republic and Cuba, dissipating in the Atlantic Ocean.

Huracán María trajectory on the island of Puerto Rico on Wednesday, September 20, 2017.
Source: NWS, NOAA

The governor of Puerto Rico, Ricardo Roselló, estimated the damage caused
by Hurricane Maria to about $90 billion. María affected several areas of
importance in Puerto Rico. Some of these areas are: the electric power system • EL PUENTE NEWSLETTER VOL.31 NO.3, 2017 5

and the communications system, which collapsed in on the main roads, in order to begin work to restore
their entirety, causing a crisis in the health system. In electricity, communication, fuel and health safety
order to restore these areas, it is necessary to have an systems. Of the 5,073 miles of existing highway,
effective road infrastructure system. only 392 were open by mid-October, 2017.
Hurricane Maria impacted most of the roads, bridges, HTA identified 27 roads that would remain closed,
ports and airports of Puerto Rico. The road due to the various failures that these roads could
infrastructure system is led by the government have. It is estimated that to be able to open these
agency of the Department of Transportation and roads it is necessary four months for the opening of
Public Works (DTPW). At the command of the the roads. Of these roads, the PR-186 in Canóvanas
DTPW and the Highway and Transportation had a failure estimated in $4 million, which would
Authority (HTA), the secretary of the DTPW, the take two years to repair the road in its entirety.
engineer Carlos Contreras Aponte, estimated the Roads closed due to failures or damages caused by Hurricane
damage to the roads of Puerto Rico, at $ 240 million. Maria, in mid-October, 2017, according to HTA.

ID Road Km. Municipality

1 PR-3 57 Ceiba
2 PR-3 67 Naguabo
3 PR-10 42.1 Utuado
4 PR-109 2.2 Añasco
5 PR-110 14.8 Moca
6 PR-119 15.6 San Sebastián
7 PR-119 35.2 San Sebastián
8 PR-123 73.7 Arecibo
9 PR-125 9.3 San Sebastián
10 PR-143 56.1 Barranquitas
Secretary of the DTPW, Carlos M. Contreras Aponte declaring 11 PR-152 5.2 Barranquitas
damage to Highway and transportation infrastructure.
12 PR-155 31.5 Orocovis
13 PR-165 25.6 Toa Baja
14 PR-172 14.4 Cidra
15 PR-186 8.9 Canóvanas
16 PR-372 13 Yauco
17 PR-377 1.7 Guayanilla
18 PR-378 3.8 Guayanilla
19 PR-397 2 Las Marías
20 PR-556 51.8 Coamo
21 PR-568 8 Orocovis
22 PR-620 0.1 Vega Alta
23 PR-770 5.6 Barranquitas
Intersection with road PR-194 in Fajardo flooded.
24 PR-800 0.4 Corozal
25 PR-811 1 Narajito
Roads and Traffic Lights 26 PR-861 7.29 Bayamón
27 PR-9948 0.7 Canóvanas
Falling of trees, power lines, poles, landslides and
floods caused by the hurricane, left most of the roads In addition to roads, the cyclone affected traffic lights
on the island not traversable. The secretary at intersections. HTA was responsible with the repair
established as a priority the cleaning of access roads of 720 intersections with traffic lights from the

existing 1,200, using the allocation of $8.7 million at the base of the bridge through which the Bayamón
from the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). River passes. "The piles that were exposed had been
It is expected that with a second approval of federal further undermined and represent a danger ... it is not
funds, it will be possible to continue with the repair considered safe," said DTPW Secretary Carlos M.
of the other 480 traffic lights intersections. On the Contreras Aponte. The alternative route of the PR-
other hand, these failures in the road system have 177, is the PR-2, which caused a massive traffic in
created extensive rows of vehicles, which has made the PR-2, creating a problem, as mentioned by the
the restoration of affected systems difficult. secretary of the DTPW. The repair of the bridge took
nine (9) days, upon reopening on October 20, 2017.
Another important bridge is the bridge of the Luis A.
Hurricane Maria aggressively impacted 129 bridges Ferré highway, at kilometer 94.1 of the PR-52,
in the island road system. Several of these bridges between Ponce and Juana Díaz. This has been
collapsed, holding communities uncommunicated for undermined at the base making it one in danger of
several days. Some of these bridges remain under collapsing.
surveillance because they can collapse completely. In
mid-October, HTA reported 17 undermined bridges,
of which including the 27 aforementioned closed
roads, 28 are under the jurisdiction of FHWA and 16
under the jurisdiction of the Federal Emergency
Management Administration
Localization of the 17 bridges closed by
Hurricane Maria, by HTA.
Bridges Road Km. Municipality
1 PR-52 93.9 Juana Díaz Bridge in PR-52, undermined at the base,
2 PR-111 13.1 San Sebastian caused by the Inabón river.
3 PR-111 10.4 Moca Source:
4 PR-127 9.1 Guayanilla One of the most affected municipalities was Utuado.
5 PR-145 1 Ciales The runoff of the Viví river, destroyed the bridge in
6 PR-151 0.17 Villalba
PR-603, where the residents of the area had to
7 PR-177 0.7 Bayamón
improvise different methods to be able to move the
8 PR-354 2.2 Mayagüez
9 PR-358 2.8 San Germán articles of first necessity for a community that was
10 PR-404 4.1 Moca cut off by the collapse of the bridge.
11 PR-511 11.5 Ponce
12 PR-567 11.7 Morovis
13 PR-603 0.1 Utuado
14 PR-623 1.8 Arecibo
15 PR-627 1.1 Arecibo
16 PR-957 0.7 Canóvanas
17 PR-962 1.6 Canóvanas

One of the bridges that had the most impact on the

paralysis of traffic in the metropolitan area was a
Collapse of bridge in PR–603 Utuado, caused by the river Viví.
bridge on the PR-177 highway in Bayamón. This was
closed on October 11, 2017, after damage was found • EL PUENTE NEWSLETTER VOL.31 NO.3, 2017 7

Ports and Airports bridges and roads affected by Hurricane Maria. In

addition, $2.5 million were granted for the repair of
The ports were a key point for the restoration of the roads of the National Forest, El Yunque.
priority systems. In addition, these opened the door to
external aid to the island, providing food, water, fuel "Puerto Rico was hit hard by Hurricane Maria, so I
and technology necessary for those affected by have directed the Department to release $40 million in
Hurricane Maria. By the date of October 6, 2017, 75% emergency funding to begin restoring and repairing
of the ports opened and were operating were reported. the roads and bridges across the island,” said U.S.
The prevention and lessons learned by the pass of Secretary of Transportation Elaine L. Chao, “It is
other hurricanes in the past made the ports prepare in critical to get the island’s infrastructure in working
advance for the hurricane. condition as soon as possible so relief supplies and
other assistance can be delivered to the people of
Puerto Rico.”
Within three (3) months of the first funds allocated,
the FHWA announced on November 22, 2017, an
immediate allocation of $30 million. These funds are
to be used in the repair of the roads affected by
Hurricane Maria.

Containers with food, drinks and fuel. “These additional funds are part of the Department’s
Source: long term commitment to helping the people of Puerto
Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands rebuild and recover
Maria caused the closure of all airports on the island. from devastating storms,” said the U.S. Secretary of
The Luis Muñoz Marín international airport, after Transportation Elaine L. Chao.
having lost two (2) of its three (3) antennas, created an
inability to operate. This created a big impact on both
the governmental and federal part and on the
commercial part for the airlines. Without antennas to
be guided for the planes that would bring supplies or
aid to the island, it was difficult to fly. Due to the high
demand of people wanting to travel outside the island
and the limited supply of lines, a congestion was
Elaine Chao, U.S. Secretary of Transportation.
created in the airport terminals, making it difficult for Source:
agencies to operate efficiently.
This article was possible with the adaptation of the
Federal Aid following sources:
On September 22, 2017 a statement from the FHWA eldtopcierrapuentedelacarreterapr-177enbayamon-2365170/
was issued. The federal agency assigned the
government of Puerto Rico $40 million, under the 2366309/
funds of the Emergency Relief (ER) program. Prior to
this contribution, the FHWA assigned $2.5 million to danos-a-causa-de-maria/
repair the roads affected by Hurricane Irma. These
$40 million are destined for the immediate repair of


EDC-4 Promotes Data Driven Safety Analysis

W ith the start of the fourth round of Every Day Counts, the Federal
Highway Administration (FHWA) adopted a total of eleven (11)
initiatives, including a continuation of the EDC-3 initiative of
Data Driven Safety Analysis (DDSA). The use of crash data for the
transportation decision process contributes to the improvement of the road
network by reducing the incidence of fatal crashes and injuries.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the
number one killer among young people from ages 5 to 24 is motor vehicle
crashes. On the other hand, the National Highway Traffic Safety
Administration (NHTSA) reported an increase in motor vehicle crash
statistics between the years 2014 and 2015 in the United States. For fatal
crashes, it was reported an increase of 7%, that is translated to 10.9 fatalities
per 100,000 inhabitants.
Because of these trends and the consequent need to increase the effectiveness
of road safety practices, the DDSA approach consists of two types of
analysis: predictive and systemic. The first of these consists in the
identification of places in the network with the greatest potential for
improving road safety. With this method, agencies correlate network site,
traffic, and crash data to identify where the incidence of severe crashes is
overrepresented in order to maximize the benefits of security enhancements.
This methodology also allows to select projects of improvements with the net
balance of impacts more favorable for the users of the network.
The systemic analysis, on the other hand, does not examine individual sites in
the network, instead examines the road network in order to establish a
correlation between the characteristics of points and corridors to identify
places of risk. These sites then go through a diagnostic process, followed by a
selection of low cost treatments applied on a large scale. Another benefit of
systemic analysis is the identification of low-traffic vehicle sites with high-
risk characteristics, making it a beneficial strategy for the rural environment
and local agencies. • EL PUENTE NEWSLETTER VOL.31 NO.3, 2017 9

The formal use of road safety data contributes to the DDSA is an approach that originated because of the
optimized use of resources by the agencies, bringing third round of the Every Day Counts (EDC-3), which
road safety to a level of rigor comparable to that of uses equations and software products for the analysis
other impacts. At present, 75% of states make use of of quantitative and systematic safety in the existing
DDSA strategies. The continuation of this initiative transport infrastructure. This tool is beginning to be
through EDC-4 expands the scope of its use with essential for road projects and for the management of
local agencies. safety and development of decision making projects.
At present, Puerto Rico's primary use of DDSA For the fourth round of the Every Day Counts
strategies is through the Strategic Highway Safety (EDC-4), a focus will be placed on predictive and
Plan (PR-SHSP). The PR-SHSP fostered rigorous systematic analysis, which can be adapted by state
analysis of road safety data at the network level, and local agencies, Individual or coupling of both.
assisting in identifying priority sites for road safety Government agencies have been creating different
interventions, while promoting collaborative data analysis tools to monitor road crashes. Three
partnerships between the Puerto Rico Highway and programs that are currently being used by different
Transportation Authority (PR-HTA), The Puerto Rico government agencies around the United States and its
Police, the Puerto Rico Traffic Safety Commission territories will be presented below.
(PR-TSC), the University of Puerto Rico in
Mayagüez, the University of Alabama (UA), and The first tool is the Traffic Records Electronic Data
recently the Florida Department of Transportation System (TREDS). For this program to be possible,
(FDOT). data from the Traffic Records Management,
Reporting and Analysis Division, which belongs to
the Virginia Highway Safety Office (VAHSO), is
TREDS is the first crash data analysis system
available to the public in Virginia. An interactive map
provided by Google shows the crashes that occurred
in Virginia counties between 2013 to 2017. These
crashes are categorized by their severity: fatal
crashes, crash with injuries and crashes that damaged
property . In addition, it shows information about the
crash to be analyzed:

• Type of crash

• Number of fatalities or injuries

Versions of the 2014 Puerto Rico
Strategic Highway Safety Plan. • Location
• Jurisdiction
In order to maximize the benefits that DDSA can • People involved
contribute, the use of dedicated software tools has
become widespread, providing a centralized • Vehicle involved in the crash
environment in which road safety stakeholders can
• Cause of the crash
examine data to guide their decisions.

The second tool is called the Critical Analysis

Reporting Environment (CARE) Tool . It is used in
Puerto Rico and is managed by the Puerto Rico
Traffic Safety Commission, with the assistance of the
PR-HTA, which are part of the Department of
Transportation and Public Works (DTPW). This tool
provides statistical analysis of data that is shown in a
graphs, that are easy to understand by the general
This tool was created at the University of Alabama
by the Center for Advanced Public Safety (CAPS).
Puerto Rico which adopted the program as its
statistical crash database, use it as a report for the
public and prepares government reports. Crashes
presented by the tool are compose between years
2002 and 2014.
Interactive Map of the TREDS Software
The tool provides a number of variables that can be
CrashesByJurisdiction used to simplify the information displayed by the
program. CARE is available for two types of users,
In addition, the program has two options open to the publicly and for government personnel who require a
public: password to access. The link to access the page
• Map with location of crashes by clusters without password is the following: http://
• A report of any crash

“Educating drivers is an important part of crash

prevention,” says DMV Commissioner Richard D.
Holcomb. “This new feature allows Virginians to see
where crashes occur most in their neighborhoods and
the factors causing those crashes. With this
information, you might use extra caution when
traveling through a particular intersection or remind a CARE Tool, for Public Use
new driver of the hazards of driving at an unsafe Source:
speed on a road near your home where speed-related
crashes happen regularly.”
“TREDS is Virginia’s ‘one-stop-shop’ for accurate,
timely and detailed highway safety information for
analysis and reporting,” the department reports.
“TREDS data is used to save lives – specifically to
support Virginia’s efforts to reduce crashes, injuries,
fatalities and associated costs.” TREDS can be access
in the DMV page:
CARE Tool for Government Officials
Source: • EL PUENTE NEWSLETTER VOL.31 NO.3, 2017 11

The third tool called SunGuide is used by the program is used by 15 centers in Florida. It should be
Transportation Management Center (TMC) of the noted that the SunGuide software is not available to
Florida Department of Transportation, (FDOT). the public, but the data is provided by the TMC.
SunGuide is an advanced traffic management system, The TMC consists of operators who use the program
which is used in all traffic management centers in to provide information to agencies and the public or to
Florida. collect crash data and any situation that occurs on the
The software was created as a joint venture between roads of Florida, instantly. In addition, the TMC
the Michigan and Florida Departments of provides an interactive map, which shows the location
Transportation and the Transportation Management of all existing equipment in Florida that SunGuide
Center in 2001. uses.
The purpose of the program is to enable the FDOT to
control and monitor vehicles and equipment to meet
the following goals:
• Facilitate the handling of traffic and crashes
• Be able to bring information to the public
• Information sharing between agencies
• Create a database to track the operation of
SunGuide Transportation Management Center, District 6
Florida's transportation system

TMC, Using the SunGuide Software Interactive Map, with SunGuide Equipment
Source: Source:
This article was possible with the adaptation of the
following sources:

Operators Transmitting Information to the Public in Real Time


The cost of designing, developing and maintaining the

software is approximately $18 million and the edc_4/ddsa.cfm


TIFIA: Innovate Alternative for the

Transportation Infrastructure Finance with Potential
Applicability to Puerto Rico

he U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) on July 20, 2016
announced the launch of the organization called the Build
America Bureau. This bureau’s goal is to support the creation of
projects in the area of transportation. In addition, the bureau seeks to lighten
the access that the projects would have to different federal financing and
federal loan programs. One of the programs with which the bureau works is
the Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA).

In 1998, the US Congress approved the TIFIA program, with the goal of
using federal money to promote private equity investment and non-federal
investments in transportation infrastructure. As of December 4, 2015, TIFIA
continues to operate under the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation
(FAST) Act. The FAST Act authorized the following amounts to TIFIA:
$275 million for fiscal year 2016, $275 million for fiscal year 2017, $285
million for fiscal year 2018, $300 million for fiscal year 2019 and $300
million for fiscal year 2020, for a total of $ 1,435 million.

"The TIFIA credit program has a strong track record of succeeding in

stimulating local economies and partnering with critical transportation
projects to communities that need them," said Anthony Foxx, former United
States Secretary of Transportation. In addition, he mention that "...
Additional flexibility and the simplified review process should make it
easier for a variety of applicants to take advantage of financing • EL PUENTE NEWSLETTER VOL.31 NO.3, 2017 13

opportunities and provide significant infrastructure • Direct Secured Loan: Provides flexible repayment
developments for their cities". terms and ongoing financing of capital costs.
Maximum payment term up to 35 years from
According to the Build America Bureau, the TIFIA
substantial completion of the project. Payments can
program provides loan assistance for various projects of
begin up to 5 years after substantial termination to
regional and national importance in transportation.
allow time for installation construction and start-up
Among the projects that may qualify for TIFIA are
highways, public transport, railways, intermodal
transport facilities and port access facilities. This loan • Secured Loan: Provides full faith and credit
program is only available to the state governments, local guarantees from the federal government and
governments, private entities, special authorities, transit guarantees the borrower's payments to a non-federal
agencies, special districts and railway companies. lender.

The TIFIA program offers three types of financial aid, • Waiting Line of Credit: Represents a secondary
including loans and credit lines. Below is an adaptation source of financing in the form of a contingent
of what each financial aid offers, as stipulated by federal loan to supplement project income. This
USDOT and the Build America Bureau. option is available as needed for the first 10 years of
project operations. It is available for up to 10 years
after substantial completion of the project.

Step to follow in the process of eligibility for TIFIA loans.

Source: https://

The federal government only provides credit assistance The process of reviewing the project's initial letter of
of 33% of the total planned cost of the project interest takes about 30 days and some of the points
requesting the aid. In addition, the project must be being reviewed are identifying the main statutory
financed in whole or in part by the people who wish to regulations and problems with time or funding that the
do the project or by investments of non-federal parties. project might have.
Led by factors such as project economics, cost profile
For the credit rating review process it could take 45 to
and project income among others, USDOT and the
90 days to complete. This step reviews the project's
borrower would negotiate the terms of the loan. At the
finances, the financial model the person applies for the
time of this publication, TIFIA loan interest rates range
aid, and the feasibility of the promised income.
from 2.7% to 3%.
Finally, the application would be reviewed in general,
Other requirements include that the project follows the
which takes approximately 90 days. Project documents
regulations of the following statutes:
are reviewed, notified if the application is complete with
• Titles 23 and 49 of the United States Code all required documents. Also, if there is a missing
document , it will be notified and if the project was
• National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA)
accepted for assistance or denied. If the project was
• Buy America Provisions Act of 1993 approved, it would take 60 days for the organization of
the drafting of the loan financing agreement requested.
• Civil Rights and Uniform Relocation Act
The project eligibility for TIFIA is reviewed by the next
In addition, projects that are prequalified will be points:
evaluated on a number of criteria, according to the
USDOT. Here are some of these criteria • Capital cost equivalent to the minimum of $50
million or 33% of the federal annual allocation of
• Impact of the project on the environment transportation assistance funds

• Significant importance that the project would have • Minimum capital cost of $15 million for Intelligent
in the national transportation system Transportation Systems (ITS)

• Measure in which the project would generate • For traffic-oriented development projects, local and
economic benefits rural projects, the minimum capital cost stipulated is
$10 million
• The project promotes innovative technologies
TIFIA's credit assistance is limited to a maximum of
• Use of private capital
33% of the total eligible project costs. The senior debt
The TIFIA review and approval process consists of must be classified for investment. The project must also
three steps that could last from 225 to 270 days. These be partially or totally supported by user fees and / or
three steps consist of an initial letter of interest, a credit dedicated non-federal income sources and be included
rating review and the review of the project application. in the transportation plan of the state or territory. • EL PUENTE NEWSLETTER VOL.31 NO.3, 2017 15

Examples of successful TIFIA loans applicable to

transportation projects, such as the Urban Train, the
Miami Port Tunnel, the Tappen Zee Bridge, and the I-93
Highway in New Hampshire, are presented below.

• Puerto Rico: Tren Urbano

 TIFIA assistance: $300 M

Replacement of Tappen Zee Bridge in New York
 Project total cost: $2,250 M Source:
 Completed public transportation project
• New Hampshire: Improvements to I-93 Highway
between Salem and Manchester

TIFIA assistance: $200 M

Project total cost: $811.7 M

Active road and bridge project

Puerto Rico Tren Urbano


• Florida: Port of Miami Tunnel

TIFIA assistance : $341 M

Project total cost: $1,073 M

I-93 Highway of New Hampshire
Active road and bridge project NEWS07/150719700/AR/0/AR 150719700.jpg?

Additional information regarding, TIFIA can be accessed in the

following websites:
Port of Miami Tunnel
Source: urbano
• New York: Replacement of Tappen Zee Bridge ms-services/tifia
Project total cost: $4,979 M
Active road and bridge project 2017%29.pdf

Source: Source: Source:

Innovations in Materials for Highway Infrastructure

A s a result of the necessities, budget challenges and latest scientific

advancements, technology has evolved with the development of new
materials and improvement of existing ones. This trend has brought
benefits to infrastructure, and the highway system is no exception. In this
article we present three of these advancements, all pertinent to highway
High Friction Surface Treatments
High Friction Surface Treatments (HFST) are a new technology for
pavements, distinguished by the application of abrasion-resistant aggregate,
such as bauxite, Flint or granite, to the pavement surface, adhering to it with
an special epoxy or polymer binder. These materials can be distinguished by
their ability to provide a high level of friction, in comparison to conventional
pavements. They are also durable, being more capable of resisting wear from
vehicles or climate. The United States Department of Transportation
(USDOT) reports the costs of HFST being in the range of $25 to $50 per
square yard. Although this is not cheap, the durability of HFST compensates
for the initial costs, given that these treatments have a life cycle of
approximately 10 years.
HFST provides the following benefits:
• Reduction of lateral acceleration
• Increased friction in wet surfaces
• Ability to compensate for superelevation, which can help avoid a
geometric correction
• Reduction of the braking distance, thus improving safety of highway
segments with downward slopes and at intersection approaches
Friction is an important factor for traffic safety. A significant portion of
vehicle crashes are associated with skidding, this can happen as a result of a
friction deficiency of a pavement that has become smooth or polished due to
excessive braking, mainly along curves and at intersections. According to the
USDOT, curves only comprise 5% of the highway mileage of the United • EL PUENTE NEWSLETTER VOL.31 NO.3, 2017 17

This section was developed based on the following

High friction surface treatment (left) vs.
polished aggregate (right) edc-2/hfst.cfm
Source: Roman Concrete
Portland cement concrete is expected to have a service
States, but represent 25% of the total crash incidence.
life in the scale of decades, whereas structures built
Based on these studies, the State of Kentucky applied
out of Roman concrete have lasted for approximately
HFST at 26 horizontal curves and has experienced a
2,000 years, many of these are in direct contact with
reduction of average crash incidence per curve from
the ocean. This comparison demonstrates the
6.2 to 1.9 per year at these sites, equivalent to a 69%
difference in durability between Roman concrete and
crash reduction.
Portland cement concrete. The Roman material
The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation consists of a mixture of volcanic ash, lime and sea
(PennDOT) made use of this innovative technology at water, forming a mortar to which volcanic rock is
Smock Bridge, which connects the towns of Meadville added, acting as its aggregate. This mixture develops
and Vernon Township. PennDOT invested $9.4 adhesion of minerals between the aggregate and the
million for the rehabilitation of the 1,613 feet long mortar, preventing the proliferation of cracks. This is
bridge. The high friction surface treatment was different to what happens with Portland cement
selected as it can accommodate to expansion joints of concrete, whose aggregate must not react chemically
the bridge deck when compared to the previous with the cement paste. This process can form
alternative it replaced, a rubber membrane for the expanding gels, resulting in rupture of the concrete.
surface, and can protect the structure from the ingress
A study using micro diffraction and microfluence of
of chloride ions to the deck’s concrete, thus protecting
an advanced light Source in samples of a Roman port
it from accelerated deterioration. This treatment is
of the ROMACONS Project from 2002 to 2009 found
expected to last between 8 and 10 years, after this time
that Roman concrete uses an exceptionally rare
a new application of the treatment would be made to
material, aluminous tobermorite. These crystals form
contribute to the attainment of a service life of up to
through a pozzolanic reaction at high temperatures,
50 years.
replicating this mineral in a laboratory setting requires

High friction surface treatment in the state of Alaska. Source: Investigations of the ROMACONS are made with samples of ma- rine structures constructed with Roman concrete. Source: http://

make an accessible product. Roman concrete requires

more time to develop strength from seawater and has
less compressive strength than typical Portland
cement. For these reasons, their use can be directed to
particular contexts such as coastal projects exposed to
severe weather attacks.
An example of this is a tidal lagoon to be built in
Swansea, UK, to harness the power of the tides. It
account at the same time with a pedestrian walk on it.
Tobermorite, the binder material that distinguishes Roman con- The lagoon, would have to operate for 120 years to
crete. Source: recover costs incurred in its construction, at that time
would have to be subjected to substantial
high temperatures and results in the formation of maintenance and reconstruction works to be done
small quantities. It is worth noting that Romans were with Portland cement concrete. If a prototype of
able to produce tobermorite at a temperature of 20 ° Roman concrete is used, the structure could remain
C, using some other material so far unknown. intact for centuries, avoiding any type of
Tobermorite has compositions rich in silica, similar reconstruction or additional expense. Similar benefits
to crystals formed in volcanic rocks. This process can be obtained in transportation infrastructure,
reinforces the cementing matrix and its including pavements, bridges and seaports.
interconnected plates make the material one less
brittle. Other important minerals that were found
include zeolite and phillipsite, formed in the pumice
particles or in the pores of the cementing matrix.
When the sea water seeped through the concrete in
the piers or breakers this dissolved components of the
volcanic ash, creating the new minerals.
It has been studied intensively in the Roman writings
about the precise methods to mix the marine mortar
and thus completely recreate the Roman concrete. It
The tidal lagoon project in Swansea will have pedestrian and
is possible to denote that this concrete is produced hydraulic facilities exposed to the marine environment. This
with materials like the volcanic ash, which is not investment can benefit from materials whose durability is
obtained in many parts of the world, therefore it is comparable to Roman concrete.
necessary to look for a substitute if it is wanted to

This section was developed from the following

Bridge constructed with roman concrete in ancient Rome.
Source: • EL PUENTE NEWSLETTER VOL.31 NO.3, 2017 19

Carbon Fibers with Reinforced Polymers for Bridge intersections with 19th Avenue and Jefferson Street,
Repair both with bridges subject to vehicular impacts. Bridge
engineer William Downes specified that "this
The regulations for height of heavy vehicles are innovative new technology for bridge repair was used
traditionally associated with the construction of because it will prevent the future fall of debris and
bridges, despite this, there are situations of collision prepare the beam for future impacts." At the end of
between the taller trucks and the bridges. This can the project it was shown that this method reduces the
lead to structural deficiencies, debris falls or even time required to repair bridges compared to other
structural failure. A new technology being used to
methods, which leads to money savings while
repair bridges subject to vehicular impact loads is that improving the useful life of the structure.
of carbon fiber reinforced polymers (CFRPs). Studies
conducted by the University of North Florida’s
School of Engineering have shown that this material
is useful for restoring flexural strength in beams of
bridges that have experienced several vehicular
impacts. Tests have shown that, with the proper
design, the CFRP can restore a damaged beam to its
full capacity, or in some cases even exceed the
structural design capacity of an intact beam, both in
terms of strength and deflection.

Repair of the I-17 bridge on 19th Avenue, in Phoenix, Arizona,

using CFRP. Source:

Schematic showing the location of CFRP bands for repairing a

bridge beam. Source:
Preparation of CFRP bands with epoxy for installation on a
bridge. Source:
The optimum design of the CFRP to repair laterally
damaged beams consists of the placement of a CFRP This section was developed, and adapted from the
laminated strip in longitudinal form, reinforced with following references:
transverse CFRP bands in configuration of U,
anchored to the core or web of the beam. Repairs that ACI 440.2R-08
do not have the transverse bands in U-shape entails NCHRP Report 514
premature detachment of the CFRP. There are
estimates of design capacity repaired in ACI 440.2R- Summary_STR/FDOT-BDK82-977-03-rpt.pdf
08, NCHRP Report 514 and the FDOT Structural
The city of Phoenix, Arizona, has not been exempt utm_source=daily&utm_medium=email&utm_conten
from damage to bridges due to height restrictions. In t=07-24-2017&utm_campaign=Equipment%
May 2017, the Arizona Department of Transportation 20World&ust_id=0042bc824c7dfdadedacbe6b30b0ef
used CFRP bands to repair Interstate 17 bridges at its ff

Source: Wisconsin DOT

Intelligent Transportation Systems

Against Wrong Way Driving

N ormal highway operation requires the segregation of vehicles, based on their

direction of travel. This typically happens with lanes designated for one of two
directions in a single carriageway, or in some cases, with one-way roads.
Despite this, there are times in which drivers travel in the direction opposite to the one
legally designated for the highway or street, a phenomenon termed wrong way driving.
Although this occurrence is rare, its consequences are severe. Data from the National
Traffic Safety Board (NTSB), throughout the United States, crashes related to wrong
way driving are fatal 22% of times. This contrasts with less than 1% of all crashes being
fatal. This results 400 fatalities annually. For high speed, divided highways, crashes
associated to wrong way driving represent 3% of all crashes.
The typical profile of crashes associated to wrong way driving is characterized as
• 82% of crashes are front collisions, other observed configurations include side
swipe and rear-end collisions
• 59% of drivers exhibit blood alcohol content (BAC) over 0.15%, 71% show some
level of BAC
• Other conditions related to these crashes include side effects of medications, drowsy
driving, drugs and missing exit ramps or intersections
• Age groups most affected include young adults (20-29 years) in quantity while elder
drivers (70 years or older) in proportional terms
• Crashes happen most frequently during weekends between midnight and 6am
Puerto Rico is not exempt from being the setting of this type of crash. Since 2015
locations in the Puerto Rico highway network experiencing drivers involved in wrong-
way driving include PR-18 in San Juan (2015, injury), PR-2 in Peñuelas (2016, fatal),
PR-52 in Ponce (2016, fatal), PR-53 in Ceiba (2016, injury), PR-52 in Caguas (2016,
injury), PR-2 in Guayanilla (2017, fatal) and PR-165 in Cataño (2017, fatal).
Due to the level of danger of this phenomenon and the condition of involved drivers in
this type of crash, some state departments of transportation which have researched the
use of Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) as an additional tool to counteract the
incidence of these crashes. Unlike sober and alert drivers, drivers most prone to wrong-
way driving crashes are not necessarily capable of identifying on time the traffic control
devices used to counteract travel against traffic: Do Not Enter, Wrong Way and red cat’s
eye pavement markers. The use of ITS allows the issuing of dynamic warnings to wrong
-way drivers, traffic patrol officers and the general public. • EL PUENTE NEWSLETTER VOL.31 NO.3, 2017 21

Head-on collision caused by wrong-way driver on highway PR-53

in Ceiba, Puerto Rico. Source:

At present, at least four (4) states are undergoing

development of ITS equipment to counteract wrong way
driving. One of them is the State of Arizona, which has
performed a pilot implementation along a 15-mile corridor
of Interstate Highway 17, in the city of Phoenix. This
system consists of an infrared camera system at exit
ramps, whose purpose is detecting vehicles travelling
against traffic and activating a flashing warning sign. This
project has a cost of $3.7 million and is expected to start
operations in 2018.
Another system, whose operation initiated in December
2016, was developed by the Wisconsin Department of
Transportation (WisDOT). This system alerts both
authorities and the general driving public of the presence
of a vehicle travelling the wrong way. The alert
mechanism of this system notifies an operator of the
WisDOT State Traffic Operations Center of this incident,
who then activates electronic message boards of the
affected area with a warning message and initiates a
response protocol. The operator also has the option of
manually activating the alert if he or she gains awareness
of the incident through traffic cameras or reports from
traffic police.
The State of
Rhode Island has Schematic of wrong-way driving detection system undergoing
implemented implementation in I-17 at Phoenix, Arizona.
wrong way driving Source:
ITS devices at 24
high-risk areas in This article was written using the following references as
2015. Their guide:
system consists of
detectors which SIR1201.pdf
identify and report
drivers. When nchrp_rpt_500v4.pdf
Wrong-way driving ITS device used in the
state of Rhode Island and the city of activated, the
San Antonio, Texas. system notifies
Source: traffic police,
activates flashing signs for the wrong-way driver, on-first-of-its-kind-wrong-way-detection-system/
photographs the infringing vehicle and activates a
changeable message sign warning nearby drivers of the motorists-of-wrong-way-drivers-using-message-boards/
incident. This type of system was implemented originally
in the city of San Antonio, Texas, where 29 wrong-way News published in newspapers El Nuevo Día, Primera
driving detection systems contributed to a 30% reduction Hora, El Vocero, Metro and Diario de Puerto Rico
during their first year of operation.

Know Your Trainer: Dr. Pedro J. Tarafa Vélez

D r. Pedro J. Tarafa Vélez was born in the city of

Ponce, Puerto Rico. He completed a Bachelor in
Science degree in Chemical Engineering from the
University of Puerto Rico at Mayaguez (UPRM). Later, he
obtained a Master in Science degree in the Environmental
Foundation, and The National Aeronautic and Space
Administration. He also co-directed, along with Dr. David
Suleimán (Chemical Engineering, UPRM), a study for the
purification of water through ionic polymer
nanocomposites and which was sponsored by the Puerto
Engineering program from the UPRM. After finishing his Rico Science, Technology and Research Trust. From the
master, he decided to exercise the practice of engineering findings and results of this study they plan to submit a
for few years working in the pharmaceutical industry. patent soon.
Afterwards, he returned to the academia to pursue doctoral
studies in Chemical Engineering with focus in Among his most recent publications is the article
Bioengineering at the University of South Carolina. “Immobilization of TiO2 nanoparticles on sintered,
crushed glass for the degradation of humid acid”,
After completing his PhD, Dr. Tarafa joined the presented in July 2017 in the “15th LACCEI International
department of Engineering Sciences and Materials at Multi-Conference for Engineering, Education, and
UPRM as an Assistant Professor. Currently, he is an Technology: Global Partnerships for Development and
Associate Professor in the Environmental Engineering and Engineering Education”, held in Boca Ratón, Florida. In
Water Resources program at UPRM where he teaches May 2017, he submitted to the prestigious “Journal of
undergraduate and graduate courses. Besides teaching, Dr. Environmental Engineering and Science”, the manuscript
Tarafa participates actively in the field of research writing “Degradation of atrazine with titanium dioxide
competitive grant proposals, publishing and presenting in immobilized in compact recycled glass”, which is under
conferences and providing guidance for graduate students review.
as thesis advisor. Among his most outstanding
publications, it should be noted “Compressed carbon As part of his academic and professional experience and
dioxide for decontamination of biomaterials and tissue community service, Dr. Tarafa serves as the academic
scaffolds” and “Removing endotoxins from metallic advisor of the PRWEA Student Association and provides
biomaterials with compressed carbon dioxide-based support and guidance for those UPRM students
mixtures”. From these works, in March 2016, the United participating in the regional competitions of the American
States Patents and Trademarks Office (USPTO) issued a Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE). Dr. Tarafa also
patent for his invention in the removal of bacterial collaborates in the Coastal Training Program (CTP) of the
endotoxins. Estuarine Research Reserve of Jobos Bay offering talks
and seminars. In addition, he works together with the
At present, Dr. Tarafa main research interests are UPRM Institute for Community Development providing
motivated in the need for safe and clean water due to the support to local community aqueducts.
limited access to fresh water sources and the increasing
contamination of this resource. All this has led Dr. Tarafa Recently, Dr. Tarafa has joined the Puerto Rico
to focus his research in the study, development and Transportation Technology Transfer Center offering
evaluation of techniques and processes for the removal of seminars related to environmental regulations, permits
emergent contaminants from water. Currently, he has three and compliance for stormwater pollution prevention.
grants sponsored by The Puerto Rico Water Resources and Congratulations and welcome to the PRLTAP/T2 family!
Environmental Research Institute, The National Science • EL PUENTE NEWSLETTER VOL.31 NO.3, 2017 23

Together we can save millions of lives!

I, ___________________________, pledge to do my part to help save lives on the road.

I pledge to:
____ 1. Not text while driving.

____ 2. Obey the traffic laws applicable to drivers.

____ 3. Comply with the speed limits.

____ 4. Pass the key if I am under the influence of alcohol.

____ 5. Have no distractions while driving a motor vehicle.

____ 6. Share the road with pedestrians, cyclists, and motorcyclists.

____ 7. Always buckle my safety belt.

____ 8. Require my vehicle occupants to always buckle the safety belt.

____ 9. Always buckle my children with a safety belt.

____ 10. Use the protective safety devices while on a motorcycle,

bicycle or motor vehicle.

Mothers Against Drunk Driving Fundación Luís A. Señeriz

Administration of Automobile Accident Compensation

PRLTAP/T2 Center Staff

Director & Editor

Benjamín Colucci-Ríos
University of Puerto Rico at Mayaguez Editor Assistants
Department of Civil Engineering and Surveying
Call Box 9000, Mayaguez, PR 00681 Ángel Rivera-Ríos

Alexander Molano-Santiago
787.834.6385 PHONE
787.265.5695 FAX Jaime Fuente Ortiz

Puente EL
Administrative Staff
Irmalí Franco-Ramírez

Grisel Villarubia-Echevarría

Nichole C. Román-Vélez

IT Supporting Staff
Jaime López-Martínez

El Puente Newsletter
Vol. 31, No. 3, 2017

EL PUENTE is published by the Puerto Rico Transportation Technology Transfer

Center located at the Civil Engineering and Surveying Department of the
University of Puerto Rico at Mayaguez.

The opinions, findings or recommendations expressed in this edition of the El Puente newsletter are those of the Center Director and Editor of El Puente and do not
necessarily reflect the views of the Federal Highway Administration, the Puerto Rico Department of Transportation and Public Works or the Puerto Rico Highway and
Transportation Authority.

Puerto Rico LTAP