USDOT Helping Hurricane Maria Recovery Efforts in Puerto Rico
The US Department of Transportation, and its component agencies, have embarked on a multi-faceted effort to help Hurricane Maria recovery efforts in Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands.
Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) hurricane recovery efforts are now supporting more than a dozen commercial passenger flights per day at Luis Munoz Marin International Airport in San Juan, Puerto Rico. As the agency continues to restore radars, navigational aids and other equipment damaged during Hurricane Maria, the number of flights is expected to continue to increase.
The agency has implemented a slot reservation system to manage the demand for ramp space at the airport and to safely separate aircraft in the air.
Preliminary FAA damage assessments have identified a number of critical radars and navigational aids that were destroyed or disabled during the storm. The FAA has brought replacement systems to the islands by air and by sea to restore essential radar, navigation and communication services and technicians are working on many of those systems now.
The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) is assisting the Puerto Rico Department of Transportation and Public Works with damage assessments, so FHWA Emergency Relief funds can be put to work in helping to restore surface transportation throughout the island as quickly as possible.
The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) continues to reach out to public transportation providers in Puerto Rico to assess their current transportation capabilities and recovery needs, and is working with FEMA on a variety of potential mission assignments, including ferry service between the islands. As of Monday, September 25, limited ferry service is available during daylight hours in Puerto Rico to transport emergency supplies to Vieques and Culebra.
The Maritime Administration (MARAD) has provided four vessels to support recovery efforts from the recent hurricanes, two of which are docked or en route to the Caribbean on prescripted missions from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). The Wright is currently docked in the port of Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas, to off load cargo. The Wright will remain onsite to provide power, housing, food, clean water, and berthing to first responders. The Wright can house 325 workers, freeing up local hotels for displaced residents. The Wright is scheduled to be on scene for 30 days with an option for an additional 30 days at FEMA’s request.
The TS Kennedy has received a change in mission assignment and is currently sailing from Texas to the Virgin Islands to support hurricane recovery efforts in the US Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. That vessel is scheduled to arrive today, Wednesday, September 27.
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