A metal bridge in Puerto Rico that was built in the aftermath of 2017’s devastating Hurricane Maria has been ripped away again by Hurricane Fiona.
Videos shared by reporters, bystanders and local politicians showed the bridge on Puerto Rico Highway 123 in the town of Utuado being torn out of its moorings and washed downriver by surging flood waters.
Some videos showed metal railings on the side of the road, attached to the bridge, pulled out of the ground and dragged along with it.
The bridge was originally installed in 2018 after the previous crossing was destroyed by Hurricane Maria, according to Puerto Rico legislator Roberto Lefranc Fortuño.
It came as the US National Hurricane Centre (NHS) warned of “catastrophic flash and urban flooding” across Puerto Rico and and the eastern Dominican Republic, which lies further along the path of the storm.
Temporary Bridge in Utuado, PR-123 has collapsed. This bridge was installed after Hurricane Maria in 2017. pic.twitter.com/Xuz4WbGIQt
— Roberto Lefranc Fortuño (@LefrancFortuno) September 18, 2022
The eye of Hurricane Fiona made landfall on the US territory on Sunday afternoon, before sweeping across the island and away off its western edge towards the Dominican Republic and the open sea beyond.
Hurricane Fiona struck Puerto Rico on Sunday, causing major damage, with footage showing the destruction of a bridge in the mountain town of Utuado that police say was installed by the National Guard after Hurricane Maria hit in 2017. https://t.co/8wAeTNUESJ pic.twitter.com/47nCbZJfcf
— ABC News (@ABC) September 18, 2022
Puerto Rico governor Pedro Pierluisi said the whole island’s electrical system was “out of service due to the effects of the hurricane”, affecting nearly 1.5 million households.
Luma, Puerto Rico’s power transmission and distribution company, said: “Current weather conditions are extremely dangerous and are hindering our capacity to evaluate the complete situation.”
Hurricane Maria was the strongest storm Puerto Rico had seen in nearly 90 years when it struck the island in 2017, destroying whole neighbourhoods and killing nearly 3,000 people.
It wrecked the power grid so thoroughly that one month afterwards, about 88 per cent of the island was still without electricity, affecting around 3 million people.