Bridge project over Canal takes shape

The plans for the fourth bridge over the Panama Canal are taking shape. The bridge, which will be located to the north of the Bridge of the Americas near the facilities of the Port of Balboa, will be 500 meters long between its two support columns and 160 meters high. It will have six lanes for vehicles and two tracks for the Panama Metro extension to La Chorrera. The entire length of the project, which must be gradually graded to accommodate the trains, will be six kilometers.

The project will also include the expansion of the highway to Arraiján to eight lanes, with the goal of reducing traffic jams between La Chorrera and Panama City.

While the bridge was originally supposed to be included in the contract for the Metro expansion, they will now be separate projects with individual contracts.

Minister of Public Works Ramón Arosemena said he hopes to launch the tender in the second half of this year and that the construction period would be around for three and a half years. On the cost of the project, it has been estimated between $1 billion and $1.5 billion.

The government is expected to receive help from the Inter-American Development Bank in arranging the financing of the project.

Arosemena said that he is studying the possibility of obtaining funding through the National Company of Motorways (ENA) - the entity that administers the Corredor Norte and Corredor Sur - and assign a toll for the use of the bridge.

Roberto González Jiménez