Puerto Rico Highway 123

Puerto Rico Highway 123 (PR-123) is a secondary highway that connects the city Arecibo to the city of Ponce. It runs through the towns of Utuado and Adjuntas, before reaching Ponce.[1] A parallel road is being built, PR-10, that is expected to take on most of the traffic currently using PR-123.

Puerto Rico Primary Highway 123 markerPuerto Rico Urban Primary Highway 123 markerPuerto Rico Secondary Highway 123 markerPuerto Rico Tertiary Highway 123 marker

Highway 123
Route information
Maintained by Puerto Rico DTPW
Length82.00 km (50.95 mi)
Existedcirca 1910–present
Major junctions
South end PR-12 in Playa, Ponce
  PR-2 in Canas Urbano

PR-163 in Canas Urbano
PR-14 in Cuarto
PR-1 in Plaza Las Delicias, Segundo
PR-132 in Canas Urbano
PR-500 in Canas Urbano
PR-9 in Magueyes Urbano
PR-143 in Adjuntas
PR-135 in Adjuntas

PR-111 in Utuado
North end PR-10 in Hato Viejo
Highway system


Bridge on the PR-123 road from Ponce to Adjuntas, ca. 1890s.
The Ponce-Adjuntas in Ponce in 1899.
The Ponce–Adjuntas Road in Ponce in 1920, now a section of PR-123.
Another view of a section of the Ponce-Adjuntas Road in 1920.

The road dates from the late 19th century and it started as a road to link the coffee-farming mountain town of Adjuntas to the southern port city of Ponce for the export of coffee.[2] (Eventually the road was completed to the smaller northern port city of Arecibo as well, connecting the mountain town of Utuado in its way.) PR-123 was built under the colonial government of Spain in Puerto Rico to connect the coffee-growing town of Adjuntas to the port city of Ponce as a farm-to-market road.[3] By the early 20th century, it was already graced with many bungalow-style summerhouses.[4]

The construction of the first Ponce-to-Adjuntas road got underway through the dedicated efforts of local political leader, attorney, and composer Olimpio Otero in the late nineteenth century.[5] In 1887, the Ponce Municipal Assembly issued a resolution to use vagrants in the construction of this road, to add to the labor already being performed by prisoners.[6] In 1903, the Puerto Rico Legislature named a bridge on the Ponce to Adjuntas section of the road to his memory for his outstanding dedication to the building of that stretch of the road.[3] The bridge is located in the Magueyes barrio of the municipality of Ponce. During his 1910 surveys, American surveyor William H. Armstrong called the road "a beautiful work of engineering."[7] According to Armstrong, the road was 29 kilometers long and had 87 bridges and culverts.

True to its farm-to-market purpose, PR-123 was designed to descend from the mountain town of Adjuntas and make its way through the Cordillera Central until it reached the city of Ponce, edging Plaza Las Delicias, located just two blocks from the Plaza del Mercado de Ponce fruits-and-vegetables central market place. The road then continued south, via Avenida Hostos, to the port of Ponce where coffee and other farm products were shipped to the United States and Europe. Under the Plan Ponce en Marcha, Avenida Hostos will be enlarged from two to four lanes.[8]

PR-123 was signed PR-10 until a new and wider parallel road was built (see PR-10) which adopted its number.[9][10][11] This route signing for this old, winding road can still be seen in some old street maps of the city of Ponce.[12]

The stretch from Ponce to Adjuntas was built under the Spanish government. The remainder of the route to Arecibo was built after the Americans took over in 1898.[13] This second stretch opened on July 1, 1904. The whole course of the road from its southern end in Ponce to its northern end in Arecibo was signed as Road No. 6 in those days.[14]

Navigating this first PR-10 road was very tedious as the road was engineered to run from mountainside to mountainside, following the contours of the mountains, and along the natural definitions of the course of rivers, to reach its destination. Such design, however, limited considerably the speed of travel. It was also necessary to drive through the congested downtown areas of the various towns and villages in the way to get from one terminus of the road to the other, something that proved to be very time-consuming as vehicular traffic in those towns and villages increased. Despite these drawbacks, the road was heavily used for many decades. However, as traffic on this road increased in the 1950s and 1960s, the road started to show its limits.

The completed road had a length of 82 km.[15]

Construction detailsEdit

The road was built in 13 segments as follows:[16]

Section # Begin km End km Length Town Builder(s) Year Begun Year Ended Cost
1 0.0 15.0 15.0 Ponce Spain unk pre-1898 $146,333.08
2 15.0 21.0 6.0 - PR 1903 $90,000.00
3 21.0 24.0 3.0 - US unk 1901 $42,527.28
4 24.0 24.3 0.3 - Spain/US <1898 1900 $17,451.21
5 24.3 30.1 5.8 Adjuntas US unk 1901 $85,053.72
6 30.1 32.0 1.9 - US unk 1900 $28,858.92^
7 32.0 38.0 6.0 - PR 1899 unk *
8 38.0 43.2 5.2 - PR unk 1903 $79,000.00
9 43.2 50.5 7.3 Utuado PR 1899 1926? $118,006.19
10 50.5 55.0 4.5 - Spain unk 1876 $115,224.98
11 55.0 64.3 9.3 - PR 1901 1926? $123,658.67
12 64.3 69.0 4.7 - PR <1898 1901 $36,520.00
13 69.0 81.5 12.5 Arecibo PR 1898 1902 $125,850.23

*Segment #7 was built with funds from segment #6.
^Segment #6 funds were used to build segment #7 as well.


The road is prone to landslides and closings due to frequent heavy rains.[17]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Tránsito Promedio Diario (AADT)". Transit Data (Datos de Transito) (in Spanish). DTOP PR. pp. 69–71.
  2. ^ First Annual Register of Porto Rico, July, 1901. William H. Hunt, Secretary of Porto Rico. Puerto Rico Secretary's Office. July 1901. page 193. Accessed 20 February 2018.
  3. ^ a b A Resolution to Name and Designate "Otero Viaduct" a Certain Highway Bridge on the Section of the Arecibo-Ponce Road within the Municipality of Ponce. Acts of the Legislature of Puerto Rico. Approved 12 March 1903. By the Legislative Assembly of Puerto Rico. pp. 149-150. Retrieved 11 April 2010.
  4. ^ Elements to Bear in Mind about Ponce Architecture. Jorge Ortiz Colom. Instituto de Cultura Puertorriqueña, Ponce Office. November 2007. Page 8. Accessed 20 March 2018.
  5. ^ Legislative Assembly of Puerto Rico. A Resolution to Name and Designate "Otero Viaduct" a Certain Highway Bridge on the Section of the Arecibo-Ponce Road within the Municipality of Ponce. Acts of the Legislature of Puerto Rico. Approved 12 March 1903. pp. 149-150. Retrieved 11 April 2010.
  6. ^ Ileana M. Rodriguez-Silva. Silencing Race: Disentangling Blackness, Colonialism, and National Identities in Puerto Rico. New York. Palgrave Macmillan. 2012. p. 98.
  7. ^ Progressive Map of Porto Rico. By William H. Armstrong, First Lieutenant, Military Information Division. Puerto Rico Regimen, United Stated Army Corps of Engineers. Manuscritos - William Armstrong-Libro 1, Book 1: Describing roads in the jurisdictions of Jayuya, Sabana Grande, Juana Díaz, Lajas, Guánica, Yauco, Guayanilla, Adjuntas, Ponce, and Peñuelas. Coleccion Puertorriqueña, Universidad de Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras. Via "Biblioteca Virtual de Puerto Rico". (Original source: Biblioteca Digital Puertorriqueña http://bibliotecadigital.uprrp.edu/cdm/landingpage/collection/william) Published: 12 September 2016. Page 99. Accessed 22 November 2018.
  8. ^ Carmelo Rosario Natal. Ponce En Su Historia Moderna: 1945-2002. Published by Secretaría de Cultura y Turismo of the Government of the Autonomous Municipality of Ponce. Ponce, Puerto Rico. 2003. p. 298.
  9. ^ Abandonados los caminos y carreteras rurales. Eduardo L. Questell Rodríguez. Es Noticia. 5 July 2019. Accessed 6 July 2019. (Digital edition: Abandonados los caminos y carreteras rurales. Eduardo L. Questell Rodríguez. Es Noticia. 5 to 18 July 2019. p. 13.])
  10. ^ Avanza Construccion del Anillo de Circunvalacion. Amado Vega Velazquez. Periodico El Señorial. Government of the Municipality of Ponce, Puerto Rico. Año 2014. Edicion Especial. May 2014. page 3. Retrieved 13 August 2014.
  11. ^ Neysa Rodriguez Deynes, Rafael J. Torres Torres, and Carlos Aneiro Perez. Brevario Sobre la Historia de Ponce y sus Principales Lugares de Interes. Published by Secretaría de Cultura y Turismo of the Government of the Autonomous Municipality of Ponce. Ponce, Puerto Rico. 1st edition. 1991. p. 143.
  12. ^ Ponce Topographic Map. Map Styles: Map and Shaded. Trails.com. From: United States Geological Survey. Topo Map. Projection: NAD83/WGS84. Retrieved 20 September 2010.
  13. ^ The Commercial Guide and Business Directory of Porto Rico. New York: F.E. Platt, publisher. June 10, 1910. pp. 287-288. Accessed 16 November 2010.
  14. ^ Annual report of the Secretary of War. United States War Department. 1915. p. 280.
  15. ^ "La Carretera Central: Su Historia." Progreso en la Construccion de Carreteras en Puerto Rico. (Table) Juan E. Castillo. Revista de Obras Publicas de Puerto Rico (Puerto Rico Public Works Journal). Year VII. Number 4. (April 1930) p.100. Accessed 8 February 2018.
  16. ^ History of Construction of Road No. 6 Ponce and Arecibo. Archivo General de Puerto Rico Mapoteca. 1903. Accessed 16 October 2018.
  17. ^ Guaraguao: al ras de la desesperación. Jason Rodríguez Grafal. La Perla del Sur. Ponce, Puerto Rico. Year 30. Issue 1479. Page 12. 4 April 2012. Retrieved 4 April 2012.

External linksEdit

Further readingEdit

  • Fay Fowlie de Flores. Ponce, Perla del Sur: Una Bibliográfica Anotada. Second Edition. 1997. Ponce, Puerto Rico: Universidad de Puerto Rico en Ponce. p. 110. Item 564. LCCN 92-75480
  • Eugenio Astol. "El diputado 'Carretera'". Puerto Rico Ilustrado. 16 de mayo de 1936. pp. 13, 66. (Colegio Universitario Tecnológico de Ponce, CUTPO)