Consortium Panamá Cuarto Puente, comprising China Communications Construction and China Harbor Engineering, has secured an order to commence work on the design and construction of a $1.5bn fourth bridge over the Panama Canal.
The contract has been handed over by Panamanian President Juan Carlos Varela and Minister of Public Works Ramón Arosemena. The work, which will be ready in 54 months, is part of the Urban Mobility Plan in which $6,500m is invested.
Varela said that the fourth bridge will enable extension of Line 3 of the metro to Panama West to improve communication by land towards the interior of the country.
He said: “It is estimated that it could be benefiting more than 2 million people, considering those who live in Panama West and those who travel from the interior of the country to the capital and those who travel to the beaches.”
The fourth bridge comprises a complete road system that includes a main bridge and the viaduct of access east, viaduct of access west that total 2.1km, in addition to distributors east (Albrook) and west, which add up to 34km, including roads, ramps and viaducts.
The main bridge will have a gauge of 75m and a width of 51m and will be cable-stayed to save a main light of 510m and side lights that add up to 251m on each side.
It will consist of three lanes in each direction and two central lines for monorail for Line 3 of the Metro de Panamá.
After the completion of the fourth bridge, drivers will have access to La Amistad Avenue, Omar Torrijos Avenue, avenida Nacional, Corredor Norte, Veracruz, Pan American Highway (eight lanes) and the Las Americas Bridge.
The bridge will include a control traffic system with variable signalling, incident automatic detection (DAI) and traffic control cameras.
The toll system will be FREE FLOW, where passage will be barrier-free at normal speed under new toll-reading portals.
President Varela said that the fourth bridge will also become an attraction to tourists.
The project also includes the construction of a restaurant-observatory, which will offer a direct view of the ship traffic and a panoramic view of the city of Panama.
Image: A bridge across the Panama Canal. Photo: Courtesy of Ministry of the Presidency.