A long-anticipated third bridge over the Panama Canal is set to open for traffic on Aug. 2. The bridge will connect Colon to the western part of the country and provide another symbol of progress for Panama.
The bridge is already an architectural icon, providing a dramatic entrance to the Atlantic side of the Canal. Located about three kilometers north of the Gatun and Agua Clara locks, the bridge, which features a cable-supported concrete design, is the “first visible superstructure that precedes” the locks and will promote investment in the area, according to El Capital Financiero.
The structure is the world’s largest prestressed concrete bridge in the world and “the longest concrete four-lane cable-stayed structure in the world,” according to news reports. The central span is 530 meters (1,750 feet), stretched between two 212-meter-high pylons. It is designed with a 250-foot (75-meter) clearance to allow for the massive Neopanamax ships to pass beneath it.
Built by the China Communication Construction Company consisting of HPDI and Louis Berger Group, the bridge will provide instant service for 40,000 people, according to El Capital Financiero. Beyond simply improving the flow of traffic over the Canal, officials believe the bridge will aid tourism and commercial sectors, the paper reports.
While the new bridge is spectacular, another bridge is already in development which will play an even bigger role in the future of Panama. The fourth bridge will be closer to Panama City and include an extension of the metro which will connect Panama Pacifico and western Panama to the capital.
Both bridges will represent milestones for Panama, as the country’s economy continues to grow and touch different parts of the country.
Foto Cortesy: Capital Financiero