Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Panamas New Cinta Costera Coastal Beltway

Guest post By Tyler Ramos

Beautiful Panama, located at the southern most tip of Central America, has become a highly popular destination due to its economic stability and steady growth. The economic upswing has made available the necessary funding to improve the infrastructure of Panama City. This is needed to alleviate the congestion that plagues the city's Avenida Balboa.

The Cinta Costera Coastal Beltway is a project that was designed to alleviate traffic congestion in Panama Bay by bypassing the city. At present, the Avenida Balboa is used daily by over 72,000 vehicles, causing major delays. In addition to the new Coastal Beltway the city will also have a car park area built to reduce parking congestion that covers twenty five hectares of land.

Due for completion in the month of April 2009, the cost of the Cinta Costera project is estimated at a total of $189 million. The contract work is shared between two companies, the first is the Constructora Norberto Oldebrecht. They will work jointly with another construction company, called the Constructora Urbana SA. The latter will ensure the proper maintenance to the entire project for five years after construction is completed.

Boris Aguilar and Alberto Arosemena are the two architects who work for Alliance Pro City, the company responsible for the design of this extensive infrastructure improvement project. Dredgers had to be used to pump sand directly from the submerged seabed and to use it to at the landfill site. Roughly thirty hectares of land will be reclaimed in the area known as Panama Bay to make the completion of the project possible.

A four lane highway will be built that extends to 2.6 kilometres in length, with each lane measuring 3.5 metres wide. The end product will be a stretch of road measuring 7 kilometres in length with three interchanges at regular intervals along the route to ensure the smooth flow of traffic. Two elevated viaducts, a bike path, pedestrian access and a breakwater will be part of the structure.

The twenty five hectare car park that is being built will also house an ampitheatre. Due to the new construction, the Avenida Balboa will be adjacent to the new Coastal Belt roadway, running parallel to it, eventually feeding into it. The existing six lanes will become ten lanes to further help with traffic congestion. Six of the lanes will run from Punta Paitilla to San Felipe, with four lanes going the other way.

The current bridge that runs from the Avenida Balboa to the Avenida third de Noviembre will be altered to include an entrance and exit to the new Coastal Beltway. Another access point will be made further along in the direction of the city and closer to Casco Viejo. Another exchange will be created at the bridge near the Matasnillo River via the Israel route.

There will be multiple improvements made to the overall infrastructure while the new highway project is under construction. Along with the building of the Cinta Costera, the sewerage systems and the drainage systems will be upgraded in the entire Panama Bay area. The clean up and improvement project will make a vast overall difference to the area.

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