The government of Panama is analyzing several alternatives for the construction of the new subway system,
and a decision will be announced early next month, said the Secretary of the Metro Roberto Roy. One route would go under study since the 5th of May Plaza, located in Calidonia, to Los Andes in San Miguelito. One of the possible routes being studied would start from the 5th of May plaza, then follow Ave Justo Arosemena underground as far as the current headquarters of the Formación y Aprovechamiento de Recursos Humanos (IFARHU), and from there it would follow Vía España until Ave Fernández de Córdoba. From there, it would turn towards Transístmica and finish in Los Andes. This route was confirmed by Roberto Roy, who said it is one of the alternatives being studied. "The public must be patient, because this is a study we are doing, the results of which we will release soon," he said. According to Roy, the final decisions of the routes that will be taken by the subway will not necessarily be the cheapest, but rather those decisions will be based on quality, service and cost. He explained that the details of this effort are very technical, and they are currently analyzing the costs of at least three different alternatives.
On the issue of payment of compensation for those persons who will be affected by the route selected and the construction of the Metro subway system, he said they had not yet reached that point. At this time Roy said he wants to avoid any speculation on this issue.
The project is scheduled to be built in several phases. Panama's Vice President Juan Carlos Varela said the first stretch of subway line competed will have a length of 14.5 kilometers and will be built at an estimated cost of $1 billion dollars - that is to say, each kilometer would cost about $68.9 million dollars.
Studies conducted in 2002 by the French company ALSTOM, estimated the cost of the metro at $100 million dollars. The company, experts in building infrastructure projects for power generation and rail transport, also did other studies 2002 for a monorail system that would cost about $70 million dollars, and a light train system that would cost about $50 million dollars.
Countries such as Brazil and Taiwan have offered credit to the government to finance the subway project, which also has the support of the Andean Development Corporation and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB). In October 2009 it was determined that the Swiss-Mexican consortium POYRY/CAL, Mayor y Asociados, and the company Geoconsult would be responsible for providing consultation services during the process of design, bidding, and subsequently the execution of the construction of the project. Right now they are working on the planning phase, estimating costs, and technical feasibility. It is estimated that the public bid will be held in July 2010. The construction of the new Metro subway system is one of the flagship projects of the administration of Ricardo Martinelli, who seeks to replace the obsolete mass transit system based on used "Red Devil" school buses from the United States. The subway project would compliment the "Metrobus" project which is already running in the government to replace the buses being used in the capital city.
By Yuriel Sagel for the Panama America
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