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Wednesday, August 20 2014 @ 12:34 PM EDT

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Access To The Centennial Bridge Will Be Redesigned

Cars & TransportationPanama's Minister of Public Works, Federico Suarez, said he has managed to stabilize the access to the Centennial Bridge that gave way during the recent torrential rains which caused the collapse of one of major slabs of the road. Suarez said this work being done ensure the stability of the roadway is maintained during the more extensive work that will be done later. He said that soon they would be announcing the details of the redesign of the structure of the roadway that leads to the bridge, a major construction project expected to begin in January 2011.

Suarez said the company Fomento de Construcciones y Contratas (FCC), which is responsible for the maintenance of the roadways leading to the Centennial bridge, had reported that the point where the roadway collapsed warranted a much deeper analysis. He added that inspections and audits are being conducted to determine what materials were used in the original construction of the project, and to determine if procedures were correctly performed. "We are performing an independent diagnosis of the views that have been offered by several professionals," Suarez said while at the same time he guaranteed that those who are responsible must cope with their responsibilities.

Roadway Washed Out - Access To The Centennial Bridge

An Operation To Control Vehicular Traffic and Flow - Realizing that they have to keep traffic running (even in peak hours), Suarez said during weekdays they will conduct an "operation" from 5:00 am to 9:00 am allowing traffic to flow from the West toward the center of Panama City. From 4:00 pm to 9:00 pm, traffic will flow in the opposite direction - leaving Panama City and heading into the interior of the country towards La Chorrera. For this weekend, starting from tomorrow (Friday, 24 December) flow of traffic will be opened starting at 12:00 noon to allow traffic to leave the center of Panama City towards the West. For Saturday, December 25 the road will remain completely closed during the day to take advantage of Christmas and to get some work done. The bridge will reopen again at 12:00 noon on Sunday 26 December with traffic flowing back towards Panama City from the interior.

The Bridge of the Americas - Suarez said they are monitoring the crack that has opened up which has worried many drivers in the Western part from the center of the city. However he acknowledged that the Bridge of the Americas is a critical point for the flow of traffic, and any work to be done would have serious consequences for the flow of traffic. (Panama America)

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Crossed Up Traffic Signals - Driving in Panama City

Cars & TransportationBy DON WINNER for Panama-Guide.com - As I was driving through the neighborhood of Carrasquilla this morning, I ran into a "typical" situation - two conflicting traffic signals. At an intersection to turn left, one of the traffic signals displayed a red arrow, and the other a green arrow. All of the other vehicles were going through, and there was no apparent "common sense" reason to stop, so I just went through like everyone else. This is the kind of thing that happens frequently in Panama City, Panama. I'm still playing with my "Security Dash Cam" from PanaGuard.com and I used that camera to make this video. I just know that sooner or later this camera will capture something much more interesting than a couple of screwed up traffic signals - it's only a matter of time.

Copyright 2010 by Don Winner for Panama-Guide.com. Go ahead and use whatever you like as long as you credit the source. Salud.

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Implementation Of New Law On Minor Traffic Accidents Delayed

Cars & TransportationExecutive Decree Number 958 of 10 December 2010 which covers traffic accidents, due to come into effect on 15 December 2010, was suspended until 1 February 2011 to train drivers, insurance companies, and those who are involved in the issue. The delay was announced by Teofilo Moreno, the Deputy Commissioner of the Traffic Police, who explained that the implementation of the measure was postponed in order to teach drivers to make them aware of the measure. According to Moreno, between 60% and 80% of traffic accidents in Panama are minor, and they cause traffic jams, and therefore this new measure was created.

The decree, which regulates Law 21 of May 28, 2010 and which dictates new measures for minor traffic accidents on public roads, was changed. Among these changes are that in any vehicle involved in a vehicle collision, the driver should not only have a camera to gather evidence of the accident, and they should have a form and to fill it out and then wait for the officer of the Land Transit and Transportation Authority (ATTT). At first, it was being said that drivers involved in minor traffic accidents should move their cars out of the roadway in order to avoid being fined $50, but now must collect evidence, complete the form, and wait for the traffic authorities in a place where they do not block traffic. Also, if drivers do not have a valid and current insurance policy they will be fined $100, and on the other hand if they have insurance but they don't have a copy of the policy in the car they will be fined $50 and the car will be impounded.

Insurance Companies Call for Clarity - The Vice President of MAPFRE Mundial Panama, Dino Mon, said they agreed with the decree, but this lacks regulation and it should be clarified before being implemented. He referred to a need to explain exactly what is a minor traffic accident, and who is going to define the term, while the drivers are waiting for the agent. In his view, the new law also fails to address those accidents caused by drunk drivers. (El Siglo)

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Roadway Leading to Centennial Bridge Collapses, Closed

Cars & Transportation Panama's Minister of Public Works Federico Suarez, reported today he has ordered the closure of the road of one lane of the road leading to the Centennial Bridge to the West of the Panama Canal, due to the deterioration and collapse of part of the roadway due to the heavy rains that have fallen in recent days. Suarez said they would coordinate with the Traffic Police and the Ground Transit and Transportation Authority about the lane closure. (La Prensa)

Editor's Comment: There have been problems with this stretch of road starting when it was built. It seems like part of the roadway "collapses" every year. The simple fact of the matter is that whoever built this part of the roadway didn't do an adequate job of studying the underlying soils, nor did they install sufficient drainage to allow for the heavy rains that fall every year at this time. The water gets under the roadway, washes out the soil, and the roadway "collapses." It's been patched and repaired at least five times, and now here we go again.

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The Color Yellow Will Be Reserved For Taxis Only in Panama - Starting in Jan 2011

Cars & TransportationAlthough six months ago the Board of Directors of the Ground Transit and Transportation Authority (ATTT) approved a measure dictating that only taxis can be painted the color yellow, they did not establish a legal deadline for privately owned vehicles that are not taxis to be painted a different color. The director of the ATTT, Jorge Ricardo Fabrega, said this issue is being reviewed by the board members, because there are outstanding issues, and they have to establish sanctions to those who would violate the rule. According to Fabrega, the resolution may be adopted in January 2011. Meanwhile, the president of the National Taxi Union, Rafael Reyes, said the resolution could be satisfied when the ATTT delivers the license plates to taxi drivers, and when permissions and permits are updated. The adopted bill also mandates that automobile distributors may not offer yellow cars for sale. (Panama America)

Editor's Comment: Got a yellow car that's not a taxi? Then it appears like you will have to run out and have it painted some other color.

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New "Metro Bus" Drivers Receive Training

Cars & TransportationStarting in mid-December, Panama will have a new mass transit system. In anticipation a training plan has been implemented for the men and women who will be operating the equipment of the new Metro Bus system. More than 200 drivers were trained at the National Institute of Vocational Training for Human Development (Inadeh) and were graduated as Metro Bus operators. The introduction of the Metro Bus system will begin on 18 December 2010, starting with the Southern Corridor route. (Telemetro)

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ATTT Studying Installation and Use of Taxi Meters

Cars & TransportationThe general director of the Ground Transit and Transportation Authority (ATTT), Jorge Ricardo Fabrega, reported that the possible use of meters in taxis in the country is now a matter of discussion and study. In fact, he said they are following the progress of a loaned system that is putting the device into practice. According to Fabrega, this device does an efficient job by monitoring the distance covered and time used for the trip. He further explained that when the driver gets caught in a traffic jam, the revolution of the unit slows down so as not to detract from the passenger.

"Today there are modern methods so that the taxi meter does not become a weapon against the user," Fabrega said on an interview given to Channel 13 Telemetro Report. The director of the ATTT said this would help a large number of taxi users who currently "do not know where one zone ends and another begins," which means that, in the end, the taxi drivers can practically charge "whatever they want." "The taxi meters could help to make the system more orderly," he said. (La Prensa)

Jorge Ricardo Fábrega, ATTT Director

Editor's Comment: Wonderful. One more small step into the 21st Century. The installation of taxi meters would also put an end to "gringo gouging" and taxi drivers who try to rip off ignorant tourists. It would make it very simple. Only get into a taxi that has a meter installed - no meter means the taxi is a pirate. And, only pay what's on the meter - no more and no less. I already know that I'm going to be a huge fan of these meters.

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Gov. Spending $58 Million To Build Enrique A. Jimenez Airport in Colon

Cars & TransportationWith a ceremony to lay the cornerstone, the formal orders to proceed were given to the company MECO for the construction of the Enrique Jimenez airport in the City of Colon. The MECO construction company is responsible for designing and building the Enrique A. Jiménez Airport, which will cost more than $58 million dollars. Over the next two years MECO will be working on the project to extend the runway, to build a new terminal building, control tower, taxiways, and road access to the airport. (Panama America)
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New Direct Flight From Germany to Panama

Cars & TransportationThe more than 800 German citizens living in Panama can now travel directly to their home country, after Condor Airlines launched it's new weekly directly flight with a capacity of 270 passengers. Michael Grau, Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany in Panama, said the number of German residents who want to stay in Panama is tending to increase, as well as interest from companies in Luxembourg, France and Frankfurt. Ricardo Lince Boyd, the CEO of Condor, said the inaugural flight arrived with 80 people and will return with 35. He added that some passengers have other connections, which will continue with Copa Airlines. "We're opening a frontier for the country, Germany is one of the largest countries exporting tourism and we hope that Panama will become a favorite destination," said Boyd. (Panama America)

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Copa Airplane Forced To Make Emergency Landing Due To Thunderstorm

Cars & TransportationA Panamanian Copa airliner made an emergency landing at an airport in Venezuela, due to a thunderstorm. The plane, carrying 150 passengers from Panama to Caracas, was scheduled to land at 9:50 pm at the Maiquetía International Airport in Caracas, but the heavy weather preventing them from reaching their destination. After the fact there were no reported injuries or damage to the airplane. (La Critica)
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