Port Canaveral delivering utility poles to Puerto Rico
3,000 poles leaving Thursday for power-stricken island
PORT CANAVERAL, Fla. – Three months ago, Hurricane Maria swept through Puerto Rico leaving 3.6 million people, the entire U.S. territory, without power.
Rebuilding efforts have been slow but at Port Canaveral, shipments of utility poles are speeding up.
Crews shipping the poles told News 6 Wednesday they're as long as 75 feet and weigh as much as six tons.
Wednesday, 3,000 poles were placed on the eighth barge headed to Puerto Rico from Port Canaveral.
The poles are expected to arrive in San Juan the day after Christmas.
"It's still a third of the people who still don't have power," said Port Canaveral CEO John Murray. "Port Canaveral has been involved since the very beginning in moving the light poles to Puerto Rico. This is a tremendous relief effort," said Murray.
The first barge to the island left a month ago. 10,000 poles have traveled since.
The final tally by February is expected to hit 30,000.
Brian Hubert is the president of Ambassador Services, Inc. delivering the FEMA poles to the Port from around the country.
Once the poles are on the barge, it takes five to seven days to reach the island.
"Different poles are coming from seven states throughout the United States. We get anywhere from 20 to 50 truckloads of poles a day," Huber told News 6.
"The dock workers are frequently the unsung hereos. There's a tremendous amount of pride in the people who are doing the job, knowing they're helping someone on the other end," said Murray. "We really have a large Puerto Rican population in Florida and we're really happy and proud to help them in any way we can," the Port CEO said.
Murray said about half of all power poles shipped to Puerto Rico from the East Coast have gone out of Port Canaveral.
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