Puente Rio Hondo, Spanning Hondo River on PR Road 156, Barrio Rio Hondo, Comerio, Comerio Municipio, PR
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Significance: The wrought iron, three-span truss bridge that carried Puerto Rico's coastal highway over Rio de la Plata, its longest and second largest river, was designed in 1868 and completed in 1876. Named Reyes Catolicos after Spain's reigning couple of 1492, it was the island's second metal truss bridge and its longest in the nineteenth century. Designed by Miguel Martinez de Campos, chief engineer of the Public Works Bureau of the Spanish colonial government in Puerto Rico, and fabricated by the Belgian firm Cia. Participation Belge, it provided the first highway crossing over the lower part of this river. Puerto Rico's nineteenth century metal truss bridges are the only examples of European truss bridge design and technology under the jurisdiction of the United States. Therefore, these bridges are significant at the national level as examples of European engineering and fabrication. The Reyes Catolicos Bridge was a prime and early example of that technology. It was damaged by a hurricane in 1899, the year after the United States invaded the island. The two spans that survived were modified and relocated. One of them became Puente Rio Hondo, while the other was lost several decades ago.
Unprocessed Field note material exists for this structure: N999
Survey number: HAER PR-44
Building/structure dates: 1874 Initial Construction
Building/structure dates: 1908 Subsequent Work