Puerto Rico Highway 2
|Maintained by Puerto Rico Dept. of Transportation and Public Works (DTOP)|
|Length:||143 mi (230 km)|
|Existed:||1953 – present|
|CW end:||San Juan|
PR-10 in Arecibo
|CCW end:||PR-1 in Barrio San Antón, Ponce|
The road runs parallel to the northern coast of Puerto Rico (west of San Juan), then parallel to the west coast from near Aguadilla running south through Mayagüez. Shortly after Mayagüez, the road runs somewhat inland (through Hormigueros, San German and Sabana Grande) until it reaches the southern coast of Puerto Rico at Yauco, and continues to run parallel the southern shore as it approaches Ponce from the west. In addition to Arecibo, Aguadilla, and Mayagüez, the road runs through various other cities including Guaynabo, Bayamón, San Germán and Yauco. In some sections the road is a four-lane highway while in other sections the road is either a six-lane or eight-lane highway.
The section of PR-2 from Ponce to the PR-22 interchange in Hatillo forms part of the unsigned Interstate Highway PRI-2. PRI-2 originally included the entire route of PR-2 until the construction of PR-22, which has since been assigned the PRI-2 designation from its western terminus in Hatillo to its eastern terminus in San Juan.
PR-2 has been in use for many decades. It was initially a 2-lane road. It experienced enhancements throughout the years. In the northern coast of the island, the need for a better road was addressed with a new 4-lane road parallel to PR-2 which was designated PR-22.
In the southern and southwestern part of the island, this need was addressed by improvements to the exiting PR-2 road which was already a 4-lane road. In this area, during the mid 2000s to early 2010s, the Puerto Rico Department of Transportation converted most segments of PR-2 between Mayagüez and Ponce into an expressway. The segment between Hormigueros and San German, in particular, suffered from several at-grade intersections that slowed down travel time considerably. In an effort to increase the controlled access, freeway-style character of the highway, all at-grade intersections were either replaced by overpasses or eliminated altogether. The last intersection to be converted was PR-2's intersection with PR-345 in Hormigueros.
As for the western section of PR-2, the DTOP has also eyed the stretch between Mayaguez to Aguadilla for conversion into a freeway. This would occur between the future western terminus of Puerto Rico Highway 22 in Aguadilla to the Mayaguez city limits. The PR-22 extension to Aguadilla is planned for completion in 2016, and freeway conversion of the Aguadilla-to-Mayaguez segment of PR-2 should begin shortly afterward.
San Juan to Hatillo
Puerto Rico Highway 2 starts off in San Juan as an 8-lane road and heads west roughly parallel to the northern shore of the island. It makes its way through the Caparra section of San Juan, intersecting with Route 22, which provides access to San Juan's Santurce ward and to the cities of Carolina and Caguas. Heading west, PR-2 traverses the cities of Guaynabo and Bayamon as a heavily used road. In addition to numerous residential communities, PR-2 also provides access to malls, movie theaters, restaurants, hospitals, and various colleges and universities, among other facilities in this area.
The road then serves the towns of Toa Baja, Dorado, and Vega Baja and Vega Alta. In these areas the road experiences heavy traffic and many at-grade intersections with multiple traffic lights. Continuing west, Puerto Rico Highway 2 next serves the industrial towns of Manati and Barceloneta providing access to several pharmaceutical companies, among other sources of employment outside the agricultural sector. In this area the road is also the main road to intersections leading to the beaches of Los Tubos, Mar Chiquita, Tortuguero, Puerto de las Vacas, and Las Criollas.
The next major city on this road is Arecibo. As one of Puerto Rico's major cities, Arecibo provides a number of facilities not available in some of the neighboring towns. PR-2 also intersects with PR-10 for access to the interior of the island as well as Ponce on the southern shore. After Arecibo the road then makes it way to the town of Hatillo where it meets with the current western terminus of the new PR-22 expressway.
Hatillo to Mayagüez
West of its interchange with PR-22 in Hatillo, PR-2 becomes a primary road and meets several important highways that serve the center of the island such as PR-119, PR-110 and PR-112. This stretch of the highway contains a multitude of traffic lights. Following Hatillo the roads traverses the towns of Camuy, Quebradillas and Isabela. At Isabela, PR-2 provides access to roads leading to various beaches, including Blue Hole, Guajataca, and Jobos.
In the city of Aguadilla, PR-2 turns south at its intersection with PR-107, on its course towards the western city and seaport of Mayagüez. In this area Puerto Rico Highway 2 provides access to Aguadilla's Rafael Hernandez airport, as well as to various area beach resorts. The trip from Aguadilla to Mayagüez takes about 30 minutes, and PR-2 has fewer traffic lights in this stretch of the road than those experienced so far anywhere from its San Juan terminus starting point.
PR-2 is a major 6-lane highway in Mayagüez, which is one of the major cities in Puerto Rico. It intersect with PR-102 and PR-64, which serve as by-pass routes. The farm to market PR-102 highway also has access to PR-2 through the new Puerto Rico Highway 63, another important intersection of Puerto Rico Highway 2. As it traverses the city of Mayaguez, PR-2 is the main road for access to the University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez and the Mayaguez Zoo. Also, further south, PR-2 provides access to the Mayagüez Mall, which is Puerto Rico's third largest shopping center and several medical facilities. The road then continues south through the municipality of Hormigueros.
Hormigueros to Ponce
After Hormigueros, PR-2 becomes a safer four-lane controlled-access freeway in its way to Ponce. It has several exits in the cities of San Germán, Sabana Grande, Guánica, Yauco, Guayanilla and Peñuelas. In this agricultural section, PR-2 provides access to some of Puerto Rico's southern beaches, such as Boqueron. The road is also within a few minutes driving from the Guanica Dry Forest state park.
As the road makes its way through the hills of Peñuelas' barrio Tallaboa, the ruins of the abandoned 1970s CORCO oil refinery as well as its PPG supplier are visible to the right. Puerto Rico Highway 2 provides access to many rural communities in this stretch of the road. As it approaches Ponce, PR-2 becomes an 8-lane divided highway again. Before its entry into Ponce, PR-2 has access to the El Tuque beach and to various hotels nearby. In the Las Cucharas section of this area, there are also various prominent restaurants by the beach, serving mostly seafood.
The road is an 8-lane divided highway in its western approach to Ponce. After its intersection with the PR-52 expressway, the road becomes a 6-lane at-grade roadway in the city of Ponce. It provides access to barrios Canas, Playa, Canas Urbano, San Anton, Bucana, and Sabanetas. It provides access to Ponce's four beaches, to the Damas and Dr. Pila hospitals, to various shopping plazas including the Plaza del Caribe and Centro del Sur malls, the Puerto Rico Judicial Center, the University of Puerto Rico at Ponce, the Mercedita Airport, and numerous restaurants and other facilities.
As the road makes its way through the city of Ponce, it is also known as the Ponce Bypass. The Ponce Bypass intersects with seven major roads: PR-2R (Carretera Pampanos), with access to the Estadio Francisco Montaner; PR-585 (Calle Eduardo Ruberte), which leads to barrio Playa; PR-123 (Avenida Hostos), leading to the Museo de Arte de Ponce and historic downtown Ponce; PR-12 (Avenida Santiago de los Caballeros), leading to La Guancha Boardwalk and the Port of the Americas; and PR-163 (Avenida Julio Enrique Monagas) leading to Julio Enrique Monagas Family Park and Museo de Arte de Ponce. The road's last intersection in Ponce as well as its western terminus is at its intersection with PR-133 (Calle Comercio, a.k.a. Avenida Ednita Nazario) and PR-1 (Avenida La Ceiba). PR-133 heads west to Ceiba Tree Park and PR-1 heads east to Mercedita Airport. After this dual intersection with PR-133 and PR-1 the road seamlessly becomes a 4-lane thoroughfare called Miguel A. Pou Boulevard, the city's main artery into the Ponce Historic Zone.
Improvements and PR-22
Due to the high population density on the northern coast of Puerto Rico, a new, limited access expressway, PR-22 (also known as Autopista de Diego), was built parallel to highway PR-2. The goal was to reduce congestion on highway PR-2. Highway PR-22 has several exits that provide access to highway PR-2. Highway PR-22 ends the town of Hatillo, just west of the city of Arecibo. In Hatillo, highway PR-2 meets highway PR-22. During its entire length, from San Juan to Hatillo, the two highways run parallel with each other, and they are never more than 10 km apart. Plans are in place to extend PR-22 to Aguadilla. The DTOP has also eyed the stretch between Mayaguez to Aguadilla for conversion into a freeway. This would occur between the future western terminus of Puerto Rico Highway 22 in Aguadilla to the Mayaguez city limits. The PR-22 extension is planned for completion in 2016, and freeway conversion of this segment of PR-2 should begin shortly afterward.
The PR-2 runs through 26 municipalities. Cataño, Rincón, Cabo Rojo and Lajas are the only coastal municipalities in Puerto Rico (west of San Juan and Ponce) that PR-2 does not pass in the way from San Juan to Ponce, though PR-2 is less than one mile from the limits between Hormigueros and Cabo Rojo at its intersection with PR-100. PR-2 passes through a very small part of Guanica, only a bit more than a mile long. PR-2 also passes near Moca in Aguadilla, less than a mile away.
The following are the municipalities through which it passes in geographical order from San Juan to Ponce:
- San Juan
- Toa Baja
- Vega Alta
- Vega Baja
- San Germán
- Sabana Grande
- Municipio de Ponce Repavimenta la PR 2. El Sur a la Vista. 16 September 2011. Ponce, Puerto Rico. Retrieved 4 October 2011.
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