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Road network reorganization in Panama City
By Juan Carlos Martinez
Anyone who has driven in Panama City knows that it's a nightmare. Traffic jams where one can sit in your car and don't move are a daily occurrence. Well it gets worse before it gets better. The government through the Ministry of Public Works will be carrying out a huge road network reorganization project throughout Panama City. Twenty-one streets, intersections and overpasses will be included in this road network reorganization which will be simultaneous. During this time the first line of the metro will also begin construction. So the next three and a half years will be a traffic nightmare. Hopefully at the end of it there will be more fluid traffic circulation and a much better public transport system.
The Ancon-Albrook area will get several overpasses. There is one that just started construction in the Albrook-Clayton intersection on the road that leads to Embassy Club and Albrook Airport. In April construction of another overpass will begin in order to link Avenida Nacional to Avenida Omar Torrijos in the Ancon area close to police headquarters. Still another overpass will begin construction at the same time from Avenida Omar Torrijos to Andrews Drive in Albrook.
In May the viaduct at Avenida de los Martires will begin as well as the expansion of roads towards the new neighborhoods in Tocumen. This last one is currently a two lane highway that starts at Tocumen Airport and goes to La Siesta and 24 de diciembre neighborhoods which are very densely populated areas. This road will become a four lane road with three roundabouts.
The road network plan will be carried out on four major road hubs: Balboa Avenue, Via España, Avenida Simon Bolivar (Transistmica), and Via Ricardo J. Alfaro (Tumbamuerto). The final objective is for traffic to flow into and from the city without coming to a full stop at every traffic light and intersection.
The total project for the reorganization of the Panama City road network is composed of the construction of 18 viaducts which should be finished by mid 2014. The road network reorganization will also include a component for pedestrians who will have better sidewalks and more parks. Some of the individual projects will take 6 to 8 months while other bigger ones may take up to 2 years. One of the biggest projects is the expansion of the Via Domingo Diaz to 6 lanes which may take up to 2 years. This expansion project was bid on in late February. It will extend from San Miguelito Bridge to the Riande Hotel near the airport.
The whole road reorganization plan has been divided in three packages for bidding purposes. The second package has already received tenders but they are under review. This package included the expansion of Domingo Diaz Avenue, four viaducts: on Via Brazil at Multimax Calle 50, the Multiplaza crossing, the Transistmica, McDonalds crossing as well as the one at Edison Plaza. It also includes improvements to Avenida Balboa. A third package of projects is still not ready to be opened up for bidding.
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