SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (May 10, 2022) – Engineers from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Jacksonville District briefed and provided an overview of the Rio Puerto Nuevo Flood Damage Reduction project at La Fortaleza, San Juan, Puerto Rico, May 5. The overview provided clarity for updates and changes since the project was authorized.
“Our objective is to provide our stakeholders clarity on the most recent RPN design and changes to contract four through six.” said MAJ. Jesus D. Soto,U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Jacksonville Deputy District Engineer Puerto Rico and Virgin Islands. “We are appreciative because this meeting provided key information of USACE efforts, collaboration with the Municipality of San Juan and local government agencies.”
The meeting opened the floor for discussion on the proposed design of a new diversion channel scheduled to be constructed, and various changes that can be accomplished at the existing Buena Vista Creek. The existing Buena Vista Creek runs through the Villa Nevares, Jardines Metropolitano community does not have the conveyance capacity to hold a 100-year storm event.
The Río Puerto Nuevo Basin drains 24 square miles, 75-percent of which is highly developed with a population of 250,000. Rapid upstream runoff, inadequate channel capacity, constriction at bridges, and elimination of the flood plain by urbanization cause severe flooding to 7,500 residents, and 700 commercial and public structures valued at over $3 billion. The project includes six project segments that will be constructed through separate contracts between now and 2032.
“I was glad to be able to begin discussions with the municipality of San Juan regarding Las America Bridge replacements in Contract Four.”said Stephen Meyer, senior project manager, Rio Puerto Nuevo Section, USACE Jacksonville District “We are looking forward to continuing our partnership and gain valuable input from all our stakeholders.”
Rio Puerto Nuevo is located in Metropolitan San Juan and it includes the Rio Piedras Drainage Basin and its tributaries, which drains 24 square miles. In addition, over the years, the existing Buena Vista Creek concrete channel has suffered integral damage from erosion and deterioration. A diversion channel was proposed to alleviate flooding in the area of Villa Nevares, Jardines Metropolitano community, leaving the existing Buena Vista Creek conveying local runoff while the proposed diversion channel divert water from the Buena Vista Creek headwaters.
Representation of Government officials from the Municipality of San Juan, Governor’s Office, Department of Natural and Environmental Resources and members of the community (At University Gardens/Jardines Metropolitano) attended the briefing and expressed their thoughts and concerns.
“I think the briefing with the municipality of San Juan, our Non-Federal Sponsor the Puerto Rico Department of Natural and Environmental Resources, the Governor’s Office, and members of the community was very positive and a good step in the right direction to help the community.” said Jose Bilbao, Project Manager for Rio Puerto Nuevo, USACE Jacksonville District. “The Corps continues the effort of sharing information and listening to concerns from the community as we progress with design and construction of this critical flood risk management project.”
When completed, the project will provide over $125 million average annual economic benefits and 100-year flood protection to more than 250,000 area residents.
“It’s our goal to continue providing briefings, collaborating with stakeholders and our local Puerto Rico partners to provide critical updates throughout the length of the Rio Puerto Nuevo Flood project,” said Soto.
(The public can obtain news, updates and information from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Jacksonville District on the district’s website at www.saj.usace.army.mil, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/JacksonvilleDistrict and on Twitter at www.twitter.com/JaxStrong.