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Wednesday, October 01 2014 @ 01:58 AM EDT

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Traffic Jams Continue on the Centennial Bridge

Cars & Transportation By URANIA CECILIA MOLINA for La Prensa - It's going to take about another 20 days of work to repair the broken slab of highway along the access road leading to the Western side of the Centennial Bridge, whereas the repair of the 80 meters of road that sank in Loma Cová will be finished today at noon. This, according to Luis Manuel Hernandez, the Vice Minister of Public Works (MOP), who explained that their crews will continue working until the repairs are finished in the area of Loma Cová on the road leading to the Bridge of the Americas in order to facilitate the flow of traffic for the thousands of drivers who will be returning to Panama City today from the interior. In the area to the West of the Panama Canal where the access road to the Centennial Bridge is damaged, the MOP will have only one lane open leading to the interior and one lane open leading towards Panama City for at least the next 20 days while repairs are completed. In both areas they will be constructing "French Canals" in order to facilitate the drainage of accumulated groundwater which caused the collapse of both roads. Amarilis Ulloa, the Director of Operations of the Ground Transit and Transportation Authority (ATTT), explained that since the first day (of this problem) they have been working to streamline the flow of traffic and that as of today the number of traffic police assigned to these routes will be increase to 100, and that ATTT inspectors will also be present all along the route leading to the Centennial Bridge. She added that, depending on the number of cars that want to travel to Panama City in the afternoon hours, they might decide to initiate an operation to switch lanes (shut down traffic headed towards the interior) to allow for greater traffic flow towards Panama City. And even though the sun came out yesterday in Panama City, rains in Bocas del Toro and Chiriquí caused two more deaths in Barú on Sunday. According to the Vice President of the Republic, Rubén Arosemena, "174,037 products have been distributed in these provinces," but those affected by flooding in some areas have complained that the aid is not reaching them, and they say they need water, food, and other basic articles. (Photo Credit: LA PRENSA/Víctor Arosemena)
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Gaoline Available on Isla Carenero in Bocas del Toro

Cars & Transportation

By DON WINNER for Panama-Guide.com - One of the biggest remaining problems as a result of the torrential rains and flooding last week is the supply line - getting enough food, water, and supplied into the province of Bocas del Toro in the Western part of the Republic of Panama. And, while it's hard enough to supply the mainland part of the province, there are dozens of large inhabited islands offshore, home to thousands of residents. These people survive via the outboard motor - everything moves via small boats, so the lack of gasoline is much more important to the boats than for cars or trucks. I receive the following this morning from Forrest Walker, who lives on Isla Carenero and who has been closely monitoring the supply situation there; "As I write this at 7:33 this morning, gas is arriving at the Accel Station on Caranero. Please pass the word. It will not last long!" (more)

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Roads To Both Bridges Closed

Cars & Transportation

By DON WINNER for Panama-Guide.com - Received via email this afternoon: "Hello Everyone, The road may be open to Bocas, but the roads are CLOSED from the interior to the bridges, both the Bridge of the Americas and the Centennial Bridge. I left the beach (Gorgona)at 6:30 AM and at 9:30 AM we were all turned around by the police in Arraijan and told that the roads are not safe leading to the bridges. I don't know if it is still in effect, but perhaps check before attempting the trip into the city-and the tranques are unbelievable! KC" This is a reflection of the two road wash-outs. The rains continue and the general situation continues to deteriorate somewhat.

Copyright 2008 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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Roads Collapse on Routes to Bridges

Cars & Transportation By Kathyria Caicedo for Telemetro Reporta - Panama's Minister of Public Works Benjamin Colamarco has confirmed that the access road to the Centennial Bridge in the Western sector has been affected by landslides. He explained that all of the slides have been caused by the water saturation that exists due to the unusually heavy rains, and that more damage is possible. But, he stressed repair crews are already working to fix the damage. Crews are also working in the area where the pavement has cracked, but repairs in this area will take longer because the damage is considerable. In addition, the problem near Loma Cová on the Inter American Highway remains to be fixed. A repair crew has been working on the problem since last Thursday to level the highway, but constant rains have caused the highway to sink again. Colamarco asked drivers to remain calm and to use precaution when driving in these areas.
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Heavy Rains Washing Out Roads and Highways

Cars & TransportationLa Critica A tremendous traffic jam occurred along the Pan American highway near the area of Loma Cobá when a section of the highway washed out. The Director of Public Works in the Western section said a repair crew is working on the stretch of highway affected and they hope to be finished this afternoon. Meanwhile, there was another section of highway that collapsed on the road leading to the Centennial bridge, where more than 20 meters of roadway have given way. (Editor's Comment: These heavy rains in the end of November are taking their toll on the roadways in Panama. Take extra precautions when driving, even along familiar roads and highways to avoid being surprised by a washed out section of roadway.)
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Road From Chiriqui to Bocas Reopened (Kinda)

Cars & Transportation By FLOR BOCHAREL for La Prensa - At noon of yesterday the two crews working to repair the road between Chiriqui and Bocas del Toro met their objective - to reopen the road. Only light vehicles and small trucks carrying humanitarian aid to Bocas del Toro and the Comarca will be allowed to pass, said the Minister of Public Works Benjamín Colamarco. “We will control the passage of the vehicles traffic police, technicians from the MOP and the SINAPROC, who will decide which vehicles have priority because the zone is very dangerous; also vehicles will not be allowed to drive at night," he said. The articulated trucks carrying bananas from Chiriquí to the port at Almirante will not be able to pass for many days. Many stores in Chiriquí Grande were running out of goods yesterday; there is no gas, meat, fruits, vegetables, and very little rice on the shelves. (Photo Credit: LA PRENSA/Carlos Lemos)
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Armored Car Knocks Down Utility Poles

Cars & Transportation By Ana Teresa Benjamín for La Prensa - A Brink's armored car with license plate number 212453 lost its brakes yesterday and crashed into a cement electrical post at the intersection of Calle 49 and Calle Uruguay in Marbella. According to preliminary information from the National Police no one was killed or injured in the accident, but the truck knocked down two electrical power poles and 25 customers were without electrical service for several hours. The armored car was not transporting money at the time of the accident, according to police.
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Another Fatal Traffic Accident on the Road to the Centennial Bridge

Cars & Transportation By Carlos A. Rodríguez for La Critica - A horrific traffic accident occurred yesterday morning near the Puente Camarón which crosses the railroad tracks on the highway leading to the Centennial Bridge. 32 year old pilot Octavio Lorenzo Noriega, who was driving a black Hyundai Tuscon with license plate 427866, was killed in the crash. The vehicle was totally destroyed. The victim received a severe trauma to the skull. The car ended up under the bridge where the driver ended up trapped - the vehicle flew through the air some 50 meters before hitting the base of the bridge. Octavio Noriega, who was a professional pilot, lived in the San Isidro section of San Miguelito. Firemen from the Pedro Miguel station responded. Noriega's wife and family members were notified and arrived at the scene, and minutes later police gave them the tragic news, that their loved one had died in this accident. It is presumed the driver fell asleep at the wheel but the accident is being investigated by authorities. The task of recovering the body was not easy for the firemen - it took them three and a half hours to extract the victim from the car. (Photo Credit: Jaime Cordero / EPASA)
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Gas Prices Will Drop Significantly On Saturday

Cars & Transportation By Raúl A. Bernal for La Prensa - The Panamanian government is expected to announce new reductions in fuel prices today, reductions that could range between 27 to 33 cents per gallon. According to sources related to the sector, 95 octane gasoline should drop 33 cents, 91 octane gasoline should drop about 30 cents, and diesel fuel should drop about 27 cents per gallon. If these reductions are implemented then 95 octane would cost $2.61 per gallon, the same price as improved diesel fuel, whereas 91 octane gasoline would cost $2.47 per gallon and light diesel would be at 42.58 per gallon, according to the most recent table of regulated fuel prices established by the national government. The last time fuel prices this low were observed in Panama was in February 2007, according to the statistical archives of the Ministry of Commerce and Industries. (more)
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Fuel Prices Dropping Again This Week

Cars & Transportation La Critica - The small gifts of the independence day celebrations apparently have not finished. Prices for 91 and 95 octane fuel as well as diesel will be further reduced as of next Friday, the 7th of November, when the Ministry of Commerce and Industry announces the new price limits. It is estimated that 95 octane could go down 33 cents per gallon, 91 octane could drop 40 cents, and diesel could drop 27 cents per gallon. At the moment gasoline is being sold in the capital city with maximum prices established at $2.94 for a gallon of 95 octane, $2.77 for 91 octane, and $2.88 for improved diesel and $2.85 for standard diesel.
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