Spotlight: 3 big road projects for Panama in 2023

Bnamericas Published: Monday, January 16, 2023
Spotlight: 3 big road projects for Panama in 2023

The Panamanian government has some US$9.4bn budgeted to carry out a range of infrastructure, health and education projects in 2023.

The developments in the portfolio include various road initiatives that will be the focus of attention for the public works ministry (MOP) this year. BNamericas takes a look at the most important of these projects.

Upgrade of east Pan-American highway

The US$292mn project was presented in 2021 and it involves repairs, maintenance and upgrade of a 246km section of the highway between Las Garzas de Pacora in Panamá province and Yaviza in Darién province, east of Panama City. 

The works have been split into three sections. The repairs are scheduled to take 1-2 years, to be followed by 10-11 years of maintenance. 

The program is part of the performance-based contract maintenance program that is designed to rehabilitate 2,000km of highways across the country.

During the first week of January, the MOP announced that 14 of the 15 groups that submitted documentation for this tender would advance to the next stage. These 14 groups are now prequalified and can present bids.

According to the process, with the ID code PRE-001-009-2022-RAPP-P1, companies from 11 countries filed documentation in September to participate.

La Pesa elevated viaduct

The construction of this viaduct (pictured) is being overseen by the company Puentes y Calzadas Infraestructura de Panamá, which is expected to complete the works by March 2024. 

The bridge is located in the Chorrera district of Panama City, where it will alleviate congestion on the Pan-American highway. 

According to the last report provided by public works minister Rafael Sabonge during the first week of January, the works are 27% complete. 

Initially, the project was part of an expansion of the Pan-American highway and the plan was to conduct works on 32.7km between La Espiga and Santa Cruz, requiring investments of more than US$600mn.

However, due to the technical characteristics and requirements of the initiative, it was reduced to the works on the viaduct, the capex of which is estimated at US$280mn.

The Central American Bank for Economic Integration (Cabei) will provide US$140mn.

La Pesa will be exclusively for small vehicles, while buses and trucks must use the four lanes at ground level. 

Widening of Las Américas-Arraiján section of Pan-American highway

This project, which has capex estimated at US$413mn, is now reportedly 57.5% complete. It includes widening 11km of this section of the highway from Cocolí to Arraiján, just west of Panama City. 

It also includes the construction of 11 bridges and will connect to the fourth bridge over the Panama Canal and with metro line No. 3 in the capital. 

The Panamanian subsidiary of Costa Rican company Constructora Meco is responsible for the works. 

The initiative is intended to improve traffic flows on this often-congested part of the Pan-American highway, allowing vehicle speeds of up to 100km/h, and includes a central reversible roadway with two lanes that can be used in either direction depending on traffic at peak times.

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