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Monday, August 26 2019 @ 12:31 am EDT

Tunnel Boring Machine "Gloria" To Start Work in Panama

Infrastructure Upgrades Work on the interceptor tunnel as part of the mega-project to clean up the Bay of Panama which will be built by the Odebrecht company could start as soon as August 2010, with the arrival in Panama of a new Tunnel Boring Machine (TBM) - EPB Shield - made by the German company Herrenknecht. The tunnel should be completed by the end of 2012, with the help of this huge machine. The TBM is 177 meters long and 3.6 meters in diameter. It's worth more than $40 million dollars and has been named "Gloria" in honor of President Ricardo Martinelli's mother. The machine - painted with the colors of the Panamanian flag - will leave for Panama in the first week of July, to be assembled in about a month. The TBM was delivered on Tuesday in Schawanau, Germany, to executives of the Odebrecht company.

This machine will be used to dig a 8.1 kilometer long tunnel from Nuevo Reparto to the Coastal Strip, where it will tie in to the Balboa inter-connector. The tunnel will have an internal diameter of three meters and will be covered with concrete and PVC. In Nuevo Reparto a pumping station will be built to drive the water from the tunnel (at a depth of 25 meters) to the wastewater treatment plant, located near the mouth of the Juan Diaz river.

Editor's Comment: See what you can do when you have money to spend? Today most of the "rivers" that run through Panama City toward the Bay of Panama are, in fact, more like open sewage canals. The infrastructure under the city is crumbling, and every time a sewage pipe collapses the water backs up, overflows somewhere, and then just finds it's way to the "gray water" rain runoff. All of this then gets flushed into the Bay of Panama. The Republic of Panama has been a relatively poor nation for most of its existence. It's taken the country a full ten years, after the departure of the US military bases and the turnover of the Panama Canal to full Panamanian control, to get its act together to the point where major projects such as this can be funded by the healthy and growing economy. Governmental corruption is declining (slowly). If you had told me 24 years ago when Noriega was still in charge that eventually there would be a TBM boring a tunnel under Panama City to collect and process runoff water to clean up the Bay of Panama I would have said you were on drugs... It might take ten years or more, but eventually there will be swimming beaches on Ave Balboa - like there were in the 1930's and 1940's when Panama City ended just past Parque Urraca.

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