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Panama City’s massive infrastructure projects fit like a puzzle

The four major works headlining Panama’s infrastructure news will have a big impact on easing congestion and improving the lives of thousands of daily commuters. Read how they fit together like a puzzle.

Panama’s Ministry of Public Works (MOP) spearheaded four big-impact infrastructure projects this year, all pieces of a puzzle that’ll fit together to deal with the congestion coming to and from the western part of the country, including Panama’s famed beaches.

We loved La Prensa’s infographic, so thought we’d make it accessible to English readers here.

Three of the projects are serious highway expansions, and the fourth is, of course, the new Bridge (#4) over the Panama Canal. 55,000 vehicles cross the Bridge of the Americas every day, and add to that another 25,000 over the Centennial Bridge. Let them breathe fresh air, the MOP finally said!

Let’s run through the five projects and how they all seamlessly fit together (well, it’ll all seem seamless once it’s operational):

  • The first piece of the puzzle lies on the eastern banks of the Canal, where a 7km stretch of the Omar Torrijos highway will be renovated and expanded to four lanes. The $89 million consortium was awarded to Italy’s Astaldi and MCM Global and will ease the flow of traffic as it connects to the Centennial Bridge. They even budgeted a nice wide bike lane.
  • The Omar Torrijos highway will end as it links the Centennial Bridge with Bridge #4, which will feature six lanes with the Metro Line 3 monorail running right down the middle. Plus, at 75m tall, it’ll have a lookout point for visitors and a restaurant with spectacular views of the Canal. As we write, four companies are in the final stages of the tender process for the bridge itself and it’ll likely go for ~$1.2 Bn (the integration of the Metro will be handled by the Japanese rail project managers). It’ll take a decade to build, but, trust us, we can’t WAIT to cross that bridge.
  • Next, as you exit the Bridge #4 or the Bridge of the Americas toward the country’s interior, you’ll hit the new eight lane highway toward Arriaján (three in each direction plus two reversible lanes running down the middle). The $370 million project is shovel-ready and waiting for the Acciona – Meco consortium to get digging.
  • You’ll be on the “old” six-lane highway from Arriaján to La Chorrera, expanded under the previous administration, but as you hit La Chorrera, you’ll see the biggest project of them all: the six-lane expansion of the Pan-American Highway over a 57-km stretch… all the way to San Carlos. Split into two tranches, FCC and CICSA won the first 36-kms for $543 million, the rest is still TBD. Still, it should be ready for your driverless car within two years (to get to the beach by happy hour on Friday, of course).

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