Two major Chinese construction companies are among the applicants who have submitted proposals to build the fourth bridge over the Panama Canal, which will provide new links between Panama City and the western region.
The bids were formally submitted this week in a ceremony hosted by Pres. Juan Carlos Varela, who termed the bridge the “second most important megaproject in the country,” according to media reports. The bridge will include room for an expansion of the Panama Metro, which will provide a direct link between the capital and the communities west of the bridge.
Four groups in total submitted bids, which will be reviewed over the next few weeks. One group is a partnership of China Communications Construction Company and China Harbour Engineering Company, while a rival bidder is teaming of China State Construction Engineering Corporation and China Railway Group Limited.
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Of the remaining two bidders, one is backed by Spain’s Dragados and the other includes Astaldi, the Italian company.
The process has been delayed a couple of times, s the companies prepared their bids. A group comprised of the Korean company Hyundai and the Spanish Sacyr dropped out in August.
In a statement, minister of public works Ramón Arosemena Crespo noted the project will help improve connections to the west, including traffic interchanges and the metro.
“The aim of this megaproject is to achieve greater traffic efficiency, in conjunction with the eight-lane extension of the Puente de las Américas to Arraiján,” Arosemena said.
The government hopes to start construction of the 1-kilometer-long bridge in January 2018, according to coverage in El Capital Financiero. The project is expected to take more than 42 months to complete, at a cost of more than $1 billion.
Eddie Montes is the head of Property Management for Punta Pacifica Realty, a Panama real estate agency focused on Punta Pacifica, the exclusive neighborhood of 18 towers perched on the edge of the Pacific Ocean.