Puerto Rico to restore, reopen historic bridge

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) — Crews in Puerto Rico are restoring a 108-year-old bridge in the island’s central region that is listed as a U.S. historic site.

Gov. Alejandro Garcia Padilla said Tuesday the $3.3 million restoration of the Mata de Platano bridge will take nearly two years because it has several coats of lead paint.

The bridge was built in 1905 to carry the first highway to reach Ciales, which was a key coffee town at the time. The span was closed in January 2010 because its base had deteriorated and was unsafe. That has forced people in Ciales to take a detour to reach the coastal town of Manati.

The bridge crosses 44 feet (13 meters) above the Manati River canyon and was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1995.

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