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Carretera Central (Puerto Rico)

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direction_b =North
terminus_b =La Fortaleza in San Juan Antiguo
municipalities =Ponce, Juana Díaz, Coamo, Aibonito, Cayey, Cidra, Caguas, Guaynabo, San Juan
previous_type =PR
previous_route =
next_type =PR
next_route =
{{Infobox NRHP
name =
nrhp_type =
image =
caption =
alt =
location = Highway 14 from Cayey boundary to Coamo boundary
coordinates =
locmapin = Puerto Rico
map_caption =
map_alt =
area =
built = 1846–1886
builder = The Spanish administration
restored =
restored_by =
architect = Engineers:Documento de inclusión de la Carretera Central en el RNLH (2019). Geo-Isla. 2020. p. 51. Accessed 1 August 2020.
Raimundo Camprubí,
Enrique Gadea,
Manuel Maese,
Manuel López de Bayo
Timoteo Lubelza
architecture =
customarchitect_title =
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added = May 2, 2019
refnum = 100003686
The Carretera Central is a historic north–south central highway in Puerto Rico, linking the cities of San Juan and Ponce by way of Rio Piedras, Caguas, Cayey, Aibonito, Coamo, and Juana Diaz. It crosses the Cordillera Central. Plans for the road started in the first half of the 19th century, and the road was fully completed in 1898. At the time the United States took possession of Puerto Rico in 1898, the Americans called it "the finest road in the Western Hemisphere."Harper's Weekly. New York: Harper and Brothers. Vol LXII. Issue 2188. 26 November 1898. p.1163.
A portion of the Carretera Central from partway through Caguas to the end of Juana Diaz was listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places in 2019.PUERTO RICO, CAGUAS MUNICIPALITY, Carretera Central, PR-1 from km. 40 to 55.4, PR-735 from km. 0.0 to 2.5 & PR-14 from km. 10.0 to 74.0, Caguas, SG100003686, LISTED, May 2, 2019. National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. US Department of the Interior. Washington, D.C. Weekly List # 20190503. 3 May 2019. Accessed 1 August 2020.

Route description

The highway runs from the north coast city of San Juan to the south coast city of Ponce via Rio Piedras, Caguas, Cayey, Aibonito, Coamo, and Juana Diaz. The highway corridor is now signed as Puerto Rico Highway 14 from Ponce to Cayey, and as Puerto Rico Highway 1 from Cayey to San Juan.

History

In the 1820s, the Spanish colonial government in Puerto Rico, under the direction of Governor Miguel de la Torre took the first steps for building a highway connecting the towns of San Juan and Rio Piedras and incorporating temporary wooden bridges for river crossings.
During the 1830s an unpaved wagon road was built linking Ponce, Juana Diaz and Coamo to satisfy the commercial sugar production needs of that area. In 1846 a new masonry bridge was built by Spanish engineer Santiago Cortijo to connect the capital city island of San Juan with the rest of the Puerto Rico mainland. Meanwhile, construction of a 41-kilometer macadam highway between San Juan and Caguas, designed by Colonel engineer Diego Galvez, was begun. Construction of the San Juan-Caguas span was first under the direction of Colonel Tulio O'Neill and was later completed, in 1853, under Commander Santiago Cortijo. After the completion of the bridge over the Rio Piedras river in 1853, the construction project completed bridges over Quebrada Frailes in 1855, the Concepcion bridge over Caguas's Rio Cañas in 1856, and the bridge over the Caguas's Cagüitas River in 1857.
In 1858 Puerto Rican civil engineer Timoteo Luberza designed the paved highway between Coamo, at the southern foothills of Cordillera Central, and Juana Diaz, its first neighboring town due southwest, for the municipality of Coamo. Three years later, by 1861, a fair portion of this highway had already been completed.
The most challenging segment of Carretera Central, the one involving the mountainous segment between Caguas in the north and Coamo in the south, was built under the 1859 General Highway Plan, a complete highway plan to connect the coastal town with those in the mountainous interior. The plan was approved by the Spanish Crown in 1860 and it included the creation of "first order" and "second order" highways. In 1860, the central government commissioned engineer Niceto Blajot to design the paved version of Carretera Central between Ponce and Juana Diaz, which until then was a dirt and gravel road.
The then-municipal highways connecting Ponce, Juana Diaz and Coamo were made part of the state-run Carretera Central between 1875 and 1880. Meanwhile, the first stretch of road built exclusively under the Delegation of Public Works (equivalent to a department of public works) was the northern mountainside segment between Caguas and Cayey. This segment was started in 1875 and completed in 1881 under the direction of site engineers Raimundo Camprubi and Enrique Gadea-Giraldez. It was designed by engineer Manuel Lopez-Bayo.
On the southern mountainside of Cordillera Central, the stretch from Coamo to Aibonito was designed by Timoteo Luberza in 1861. Construction started in 1874 under Ricardo Campubri. It included 7.5 kilometers of the steep Asomante slopes, and was completed in 1881. The width of the road in this stretch was reduced from 6.5 meters to 6.0 meters, to reduce costs associated with building in such steep terrain. The segment between Aibonito and Cayey was designed by Manuel Lope-Bayo, begun in 1879 and completed in 1886. It included bridges over Quebrada Honda and Quebrada Toita. As in the Coamo to Aibonito stretch, the stretch from Aibonito to Cayey has a width of 6.0 meters instead of 6.5 meters. The stretch was so treacherous that it was the last to be completed and the most expensive. It soon acquired the popular name La Piquiña.La centenaria ruta de la Piquiña. El Nuevo Dia. Guaynabo, Puerto Rico. 1 July 2011. Accessed 25 May 2016.
Functional by 1886, Carretera Central was the first highway to cross Puerto Rico's east–west mountain range, the Cordillera Central. In 1886, it was a route with 13 permanent bridges and 33 "casillas de camineros" (housing for road maintenance technicians). Contests were held for which roads had been best maintained, so that workers could be properly recognized and rewarded.
The Arenas Bridge, constructed in 1894 to bring the Carretera Central across the Rio de la Plata, was the longest bridge constructed in Puerto Rico under Spanish government.
Macadamized "from end to end...into an almost solid floor," when the United States took possession of Puerto Rico in 1898, the editors of the American Harper's Weekly publication called Carretera Central, which was also known as Carretera Militar, "the finest road in the Western Hemisphere."
The road, spanning the entire length between San Juan and Ponce, was fully completed in 1898 and christened Carretera Central.

Other facts

In 1898, during the Spanish–American War, American forces moved from south to north over the Carretara Central. One bridge was demolished by the Spanish to delay the American advance.

National Register of Historic Places

As one of the first modern roadways in Puerto Rico, being built from 1846–1886, and regarded as one of the finest roads in the Americas for years after its completion, a portion was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2019. The listed portion of the road, from Caguas to Juana Díaz, includes the exceptionally challenging engineering through the Cordillera Central, 11 major bridges, 14 maintenance workers' houses,{{efnname=casillas . and numerous other roadway structures.
Antigua Caseta de los Camineros en la Ave. Tito Castro (PR-14), Barrio Machuelo Abajo, Ponce, PR (DSC04978).jpgA former Casilla de Caminero on PR-14 (now Ave. Tito Castro) in Ponce, Puerto Rico

Major intersections

Note: kilometer markers represent the distance along the current Puerto Rico numbered highways rather than the original Carretera Central.
{{PRinttoplength_ref=
{{PRint
km=1.6
road=
type=trans
notes=Southern terminus through PR-123
{{PRint
location1=Primero
location2=Cuarto
km=4.6
line=yes
km2=0.0
road=
type=trans
notes=Northern terminus through PR-123; western terminus through PR-14; one-way street
{{PRint
municipality=Cayey
munspan=4
location1=Cayey barrio-pueblo
location2=Monte Llano
ctdab2=Cayey
lspan=2
km=73.1
line=yes
km2=55.5
road=
type=trans
notes=Eastern terminus through PR-14; southern terminus through PR-1
{{PRint
km=55.3
line=yes
km2=2.7
road=
type=trans
notes=Northern terminus through PR-1; southern terminus through PR-735
{{PRint
location=Vegas
ctdab=Cayey
km=0.0
line=yes
km2=53.6
road=
type=trans
notes=Northern terminus through PR-735; southern terminus through PR-1
{{PRint
municipality=Caguas
munspan=2
location=Bairoa
ctdab=Caguas
km=30.5
line=yes
km2=4.6
road=
type=trans
notes=Northern terminus through PR-1; southern terminus through PR-798
{{PRint
municipality=San Juan
location=Quebrada Arenas
ctdab=San Juan
km=0.0
line=yes
km2=25.9
road=
type=incomplete
notes=Northern terminus through PR-798; southern terminus through PR-1; no access to PR-1 southbound; no access from PR-1
{{PRint
municipality=Guaynabo
munspan=2
location=Río
ctdab=Guaynabo
lspan=2
km=23.3
line=yes
km2=2.3
road=
type=trans
notes=Northern terminus through PR-1; southern terminus through PR-8834
{{PRint
km=0.0
line=yes
km2=21.0
road=
type=trans
notes=Northern terminus through PR-8834; southern terminus through PR-1
{{PRint
municipality=San Juan
munspan=16
location=Tortugo
km=19.3
line=yes
km2=1.7
road=
type=trans
notes=Northern terminus through PR-1; southern terminus through PR-873
{{Jctbridge
location_special=Quebrada Frailes
km=0.8
km2=0.7
bridge=Puente General Norzagaray
{{PRint
location=Caimito
km=0.0
line=yes
km2=17.7
road=
type=trans
notes=Northern terminus through PR-873; southern terminus through PR-1
{{PRint
location=Monacillo Urbano
lspan=3
km=15.0
km2=14.6
road=
type=incomplete
notes=Northern terminus through PR-1; no access to PR-52 from northbound
{{PRint
km=1.2
road=
notes=Southern terminus through PR-8838
{{PRint
location=El Cinco
km=3.3
line=yes
km2=12.5
road=
type=incomplete
notes=Northern terminus through PR-8838; southern terminus through PR-1; PR-1 southbound access at km 3.0
{{Jctbridge
location_special=Río Piedras
km=12.3
bridge=Puente de Río Piedras
notes=
{{PRint
location=Hato Rey Sur
km=12.1
km2=12.0
road=
notes=Northern terminus through PR-1
{{PRint
location1=Pueblo
ctdab1=San Juan
location2=Hato Rey Sur
km=11.1
road=
type=incomplete
notes=Southern terminus through PR-25; PR-3 westbound exit and PR-1 northbound entrance

See also


  • List of highways in Ponce, Puerto Rico
  • Military road
  • Ruta Panorámica
  • 1953 Puerto Rico highway renumbering

Notes


Footnotes

{{reflistrefs=
  • {{cite web url= title=Historic Bridges of Puerto Rico MPS date=July 31, 1994 first=Luis F. last=Pumarada-O'Neill publisher=National Park Service access-date= 14 February 2018
  • Further reading

    • Alonso, Feliciano. 2007. Álbum de Puerto Rico. Madrid: Doce Calles: CSIC, Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas. . (In Spanish)
    • Archivo General de Puerto Rico. Fondo de Obras Públicas, Serie de Carreteras, Legajo 5582–583, Cajas 2666, 2667, 2669.
    • Castro, M. de los A. La construcción de la Carretera Central en Puerto Rico. Thesis. School of Architecture. University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras. 1969. Chapter 5. (In Spanish)
    • Hechavarría, M. Testigos mudos de la vida del caminero. El Nuevo Día. San Juan, Puerto Rico. 3 December 2007. Section: Huellas, p. 69. (In Spanish)
    • Informe del Comisionado del Interior de Puerto Rico (Guillermo Esteves) para los años 1918–1919, 456 pp. (In Spanish)
    • Meléndez-Muñoz, M. Cuentos de la Carretera Central. Ediciones RVMBOS, Barcelona. 1963. 152 pp. (In Spanish)
    • Sibanacan. El inventario y estudio de los valores arquitectónicos-arqueológicos e históricos-social de las casillas de peones camineros de la Isla de Puerto Rico. Informe de progreso para la Oficina Estatal de Preservación Histórica de Puerto Rico. 1990. (In Spanish)
    • Sibanacan. El inventario y el estudio del valor arquitectónico-arqueológico e histórico-social de las casillas de peones camineros de la Isla de Puerto Rico, 1844–1954. Informe final para la Oficina Estatal de Preservación Histórica de Puerto Rico. 1991. (In Spanish)
    • Fay Fowlie de Flores. Ponce, Perla del Sur: Una Bibliográfica Anotada. Second Edition. 1997. Ponce, Puerto Rico: Universidad de Puerto Rico en Ponce. p. 211. Item 1087.
    • G. Waldo Brown. The New America and the Far East: A Picturesque and Historic Description of These Lands and Peoples. Vol. 8. Boston: Marshall Jones. 1907. (CUTPO).

    External links


    • Ingenieros de Caminos en Puerto Rico: 1866-1898. Fernando Saenz Ridruejo. "Anuario de Estudios Atlanticos." ISSN 0570-4065. Las Palmas de Gran Canaria (2009). No 55. pp. 311–342. Accessed 7 June 2018.
    • Bulletin #354. "Forests of Porto Rico: Past, Present and Future, and their Physical and Economic Environments." Louis S. Murphy. 20 October 1916. Page 19. (U.S. Dept of Agriculture. Division of Publications. Department Bulletins #351-375. 1917.) Retrieved 8 August 2013.
    • Historia de las Carreteras de Puerto Rico: 1857-La Carretera Central. Primera Hora. San Juan, Puerto Rico. 13 March 2006. Retrieved 11 February 2014. (In Spanish)
    • Castillo, J. A. 1929–1930. Historia de la Carretera Central. Revista de Obras Públicas. Diciembre 1929 a junio 1930. (In Spanish) Accessed 24 July 2020.
    • Ortueta-Hilberath, E. de. 2000. Modelos de casillas de peones camineros. Actas Tercer Congreso Nacional de Historia de la Construcción, Sevilla. https://web.archive.org/web/20110905135556/http://gilbert.aq.upm.es/sedhc/biblioteca_digital/Congresos/CNHC3/CNHC3_086.pdf (In Spanish)
    • Ministerio de Cultura y Deporte. España. Portal de archivos españoles (PARES). (In Spanish) Accessed 24 July 2020.
    • Pumarada-O’Neill, Luis and Castro Arroyo, Maria de los Angeles. 1996. La Carretera Central: un viaje escénico a la historia de Puerto Rico. Publicado por el Centro de Investigación de Desarrollo del Recinto Universitario de Mayagüez, para la Oficina Estatal de Preservación Histórica de Puerto Rico. 88 pp. . http://www.edicionesdigitales.info/biblioteca/pumarada.pdf (In Spanish)
    • Rivera-Ruiz, A. B. 2001. By the side of the road: an interpretive look at road menders’ houses. M. A. Thesis, College of William and Mary, 79 pp. http://edicionesdigitales.info/biblioteca/tesiscasillasaidabelen.pdf
    • José A. Mari Mut. De San Juan a Ponce por la Carretera Central. 2011. (In Spanish) Accessed 24 July 2020.
    Category:Highways in Puerto Rico
    Category:Roads on the National Register of Historic Places
    Category:Buildings and structures on the National Register of Historic Places in Puerto Rico
    Category:Historic districts on the National Register of Historic Places in Puerto Rico
     
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