Site Meter
Send Us An Email
Panama Guide

Welcome to Panama Guide
Friday, October 31 2014 @ 10:54 AM EDT

View Printable Version

Plan For The Third Phase of the Coastal Strip (Video)

Infrastructure UpgradesBy DON WINNER for Panama-Guide.com - Here's a link to a YouTube video on the ambitious plan by the government of Ricardo Martinelli to build the "third phase" of the Coastal Strip. This plan has at least two controversial elements. First and foremost, it would "wrap" Casco Viejo in a shell of landfill and roadway, significantly reducing the charm and impact of this historical area. Panama's Minister of Public Works said this week they would be consulting with UNESCO to modify the plan so as not to jeopardize Casco Viejo's status as a historical monument. In addition, as you can see on the video, the plan would call for a new strip of development right down the middle of Panama's notorious and relatively poor neighborhood of El Chorrillo. People have been living in this neighborhood for generations, and of course whatever is eventually done there will have to include and benefit them (or else they will set it on fire.)

Copyright 2011 by Don Winner for Panama-Guide.com. Go ahead and use whatever you like as long as you credit the source. Salud.

Share
  • Facebook
  • Google Bookmarks
View Printable Version

Panama Will Wait For UNESCO's Approval on Third Phase of Coastal Strip - Suarez

Infrastructure UpgradesThe project to build the third phase of the coastal strip continues to generate controversy. This time the Minister of Public Works, Federico Suarez, said UNESCO is ready to guide Panama on the issue of building it. Suarez said they are contemplating three options for the extension of the coastal strip: to cross San Felipe using a tunnel, to skirt Casco Viejo using new landfill, or to build a viaduct-like (overpass) structure. According to the Minister, the construction will be carried out under the characteristics approved by UNESCO. He said Unesco is ready to guide to Panama to avoid the the possibility of Casco Viejo losing its recognition as a part of the Historical Heritage of Humanity with the construction of the Coastal Strip. (Telemetro)

Share
  • Facebook
  • Google Bookmarks
View Printable Version

Government Cancels AES Second Phase Concession

Infrastructure UpgradesThe concession granted to the Company AES Changuinola, for the construction of the second phase of the hydroelectric plant in the province of Bocas de Toros, was canceled by the Public Services Authority (ASEP). The dam construction has been rejected by various groups of society. This rejection, saying the project would endanger the sustainability of the environment, was not mentioned by the ASEP according to the publication Latin American Information Agency (Prensa Latina), which argues that the decision was "because the company exceeds the limit allowed by law to generate power." Law 6 of February 3, 1997, gives a regulatory and institutional framework for the Provision of Public Electrical Service and restricts the passage of new concessions to the generation companies. (La Estrella)

Editor's Comment: Huh? If there's someone out there involved in AES who can 'splain this to me, I would appreciate the education. I don't get it. Why was the concession cancelled? (Real reason.) Confidentiality guaranteed.

Share
  • Facebook
  • Google Bookmarks
View Printable Version

National Front Against Phase Three of the Coastal Strip Formed

Infrastructure UpgradesSome 13 civil society organizations formed the National Front Against The Third Phase of the Coastal Strip on Tuesday, specifically they are against the possibility of a landfill being built that would border the shore of Casco Antiguo. They did not rule out legal action, because they say they are concerned about the beaches that are in the area, and according to them they are the last that exist in the capital city. They explained that in Central America there are about 15 historical locations, of which 5 are in Panama, so they stressed it is important that the government think twice before building this project. They said they do not oppose the construction of a tunnel, and they are not against the development that is going to be done along the Ave de las Poetas. William Sanchez of the Association New People of the Historic District and Representative Mario Kenedy said this news conference was called by only a select group, because they were not invited. Mrs. Elsa Sasso of the Casco Antiguo denied there is some kind of class struggle going on, however she stressed that everyone is exercising their right to protest about something that she says is harmful to the country's culture. (TVN Noticias)

Editor's Comment: The image above is a plan for a tunnel, released by the MOP back in October 2010, when they were saying their plans were to connect the existing phases one and two of the Cinta Costera (Coastal Strip) with the Ave. de las Poetas, which runs along the waterfront of El Chorrillo. The problem is it will cost about $700 million dollars (plus) to dig this tunnel. The much cheaper plan calls for a roadway built on landfill that would wrap around the existing Casco Viejo. This would, of course, ruin much of the charm of the old city.

Share
  • Facebook
  • Google Bookmarks
View Printable Version

New Business Will Help IDAAN Reduce Delinquency of Payments

Infrastructure Upgrades Starting on Monday the Institute of Aqueducts and Sewage Systems (Idaan) will conduct their last round of water service cuts, before a new private company will begin operations to collect the more than $120 million dollars owed to the institution, said Rolando Bocanegra to RPC Radio. Bocanegra, who is the marketing manager for the IDAAN, said they would be cutting water service in the neighborhoods of Betania, Villa Lucre, Los Caobos, Los Robles and other places where delinquent customers owe them money. This will be the last operation conducted by IDAAN, and the last opportunity for users to make amends before the company INASA, SA takes over with the application of coercive measures to force delinquent users to pay their bills. The company will operate in the areas of Panama City, Arraiján, La Chorrera and Colon - areas with the greatest concentration delinquency. Idaan will do the rest of the country, especially of Chiriqui, which also has a high number of debtors. (Telemetro)

Editor's Comment: If IDAAN had the $120 million dollars they are owed, then maybe they would have the funds to improve service? Just a thought. Anyway, pay your water bill, or the pipes might go dry soon...

Share
  • Facebook
  • Google Bookmarks
View Printable Version

Panama Dam Flooding Threatens Indigenous Families

Infrastructure UpgradesAmnesty International has called on Panama to halt flooding in an area where indigenous families are still living, as negotiations continue over their relocation to make way for a dam on their lands. The Panamanian Vice President’s office announced on 20 May that flooding would commence soon to fill the Chan-75 dam in the Changuinola district of Bocas del Toro province in north-western Panama. Local activists told Amnesty International on Monday that the water level had already begun to rise. While hundreds of Ngöbe indigenous families have already left the area, some remain in their homes and are still negotiating their relocation with local authorities.

“It’s simply unacceptable for the Panamanian authorities to allow this area to be flooded until they can ensure all the Ngöbe families have safely moved away,” said Sebastian Elgueta, Researcher on Central America at Amnesty International. “People are still living in the water’s path, and their lives and safety are in danger.” According to local activists, some of the families contend they have not received the full amount of compensation that had been agreed.

Local authorities, including anti-riot police, have been called in to forcibly remove those still living in the area, and several indigenous homes have been demolished. In a September 2009 report on the Chan-75 dam, the UN Special Rapporteur on Indigenous Peoples found that while the dam would have a “significant impact” on the nearby indigenous communities, none of them had been properly consulted or afforded an opportunity to give their consent to be relocated. Panama has an international obligation to seek indigenous peoples' free, prior and informed consent in such cases.

“Across the region, indigenous peoples have been forced to abandon their ancestral lands, have lost their livelihoods and means of survival, and have fallen into poverty as a direct result of large infrastructure projects and disputes over land,” said Sebastian Elgueta. “Human rights protection and the promotion of economic development are not mutually exclusive and ensuring that they are in tune with each other is one of the most important challenges for the region.” (Amnesty International)

Editor's Comment: Cool, a new dam...

Share
  • Facebook
  • Google Bookmarks
View Printable Version

Contract To Build New International Airport in Rio Hato Will Be Signed This Year

Infrastructure Upgrades Maricella Martinez, the Director of Airports of Panama's Civil Aviation Authority, said this morning during an interview on the channel 2 TVN morning news broadcast, that they are already in the process of preparing the statements of work, together with the Ministry of Public Works, in order to hold a public bidding process soon for the construction of the new International Airport in Río Hato, and that the contract will be let this year. This project to build the airport in Río Hato will have a total cost of about $70 million dollars. President Ricardo Martinelli said the need to build a tunnel under the runway raises the construction cost for the project, but that element does not make the project the most expensive option. The Director of Airports said Río Hato was chosen after Santiago, Divisa and Chitré were ruled out. She said Santiago was ruled out because in order to build a brand new international airport there, they would need 80 hectares of land, they would have to divert a river, and the proposed site was also too close to the Chicho Fábrega hospital. However, Martinez said they are working toward the goal of obtaining international status for all of the airports in Panama, and towards that end they will be investing $27.4 million dollars in other airports, and an additional $58.4 million dollars in Colon. (TVN Noticias)

Editor's Comment: There has been some discussion with regards to the location for the new International airport, and picking Rio Hato is the definition of "no brianer." Right now, tourists arriving in Panama City have to ride buses or other forms of transportation for about two hours to get from the Tocumen International Airport to the beach resorts between Chame and Playa Blanca. This new airport will allow planes full of tourists to drop right in there, much closer to their final destinations. The business math makes the decision as to the location. I'm sure Copa explained to the government that they won't be able to fill planes with people who want to go to Santiago, so even if you build it, they won't be doing flights there. Rio Hato is different, however. I wonder if they're ever going to move that stinking dump. You know, the one that Tourism Minister Solomon Shamah promised residents he would have moved back on Saturday, 5 February 2011? He thumped his chest, wagged his finger, made rock solid promises, and then went away, never to return. Ridiculous. Maybe I can get the concession to sell gas masks to the tourists who will be using this new airport? Now that's a potential money maker...

Share
  • Facebook
  • Google Bookmarks
View Printable Version

Construction Begins Tomorrow on "Transition Trench" For North Line of New Metro Subway System in Panama City

Infrastructure Upgrades Starting tomorrow traffic jams on Via Transistmica near the company F. Icaza & Cia. will be more evident, due to the start of construction on the "North Trench" of Line 1 of the new Panama Metro subway system. This trench will allow one of the two Tunnel Boring Machines (TBM) to begin construction of the tunnel that will run under the middle of Panama City, starting from this point and continuing as far as Albrook where the line will return above ground. According to the Secretariat of the metro, this section of the project will take between eight to twelve months to complete, and will require the closure of two of the four lanes of Via Transistmica used by cars to pass in both directions, in the section of the roadway between the company Grupo F. Icaza and the Auto Stop.

Vehicular Detour Due To The Public Works Project: Those vehicles traveling on Via Transistmica towards the center of the city; two temporary lanes will be established in the public land bordering the area where the work on the subway project will be completed so that vehicles can continue to use this important artery. Meanwhile, for vehicles traveling along Fernández de Córdoba from the area of Vía España towards 12 de Octubre and vice versa, specifically in the section that runs parallel to the area under construction, two lanes will be opened to allow vehicles to run in both directions of the roadway. Once the vehicles pass the traffic light located near the Grupo Mon, heading towards Vía España, there will also be two lanes to allow traffic to pass more smoothly.

The work on the project will be completed parallel to the work of the replacement and relocation of water pipes, sanitary and storm drains located along Via Transístmica around the area of Calle Porfirio Melendez (near the Caja de Ahorros bank in Ingenio ) and Los Andes N º 2, (shortly after the Centro Comercial Los Andes). When the construction of Metro Line 1 of Panama has been completed, this will be the area where the train will transition between the underground and elevated section. (Panama America)

Editor's Comment: And thus, it begins. For months the Director of Panama's Land Transportation Authority has been warning the public about the traffic and congestion that will be caused due to their highly ambitious plans to rebuild the public transportation system in Panama City. This Line 1 of the new Metro subway system is a massive project, one of many, that will cause problems for drivers in Panama. This is the classic "dual horns of a dilemma" - you have to do public works projects to ease traffic congestion, however your public works projects add to the congestion and traffic jams. Just look at this as a bitter pill to be swallowed for awhile, and once it's done then hopefully things will be better in the future. Another example - they are going to turn Via Brazil as a major artery to connect the Northern and Southern corridors, right through the middle of Panama City. And to do this they are going to build multi level overpasses at every intersection where Via Brazil crosses another roadway - Via Israel, Calle 50, Vía España, Transistmica, Tumba Muerto - and they are going to be building these all at the same time. Simultaneously, building the station accesses for the underground Metro subway system in the same areas. I'm buying one of those little electric scooters so I can buzz through all of this crap. Seriously...

Share
  • Facebook
  • Google Bookmarks
View Printable Version

Financial Tower Will Use Lands Of The Santo Tomas Hospital

Infrastructure UpgradesThe construction of underground parking, a museum and a library that will be used as part of the construction of the Financial Tower will occupy 20,000 square meters of land held by the Hospital Santo Tomás, which has been declared part of Panama's historical heritage. The land at the site is valued at $3,500 per square meter, according to real estate experts. The use of the land for this project, which would be worth $70 million dollars, is considered controversial by groups who oppose the building of the Financial Tower at a cost of about $250 million dollars. The Belisario Porras Foundation, which opposes the construction of the building on the site of the former US Embassy on Balboa Ave, has criticized the Minister of Economy and Finance, Alberto Vallarino, for having usurped property of historical value. The descendants of Porras, who ordered the construction of the hospital in 1924, are claiming the land. Vallarino denied that the tower will affect the gardens of the Santo Tomas hospital. "There is nothing more false than that because, on the other hand, this project will help the parking situation at the Santo Tomas hospital," he said. Vallarino revealed that the land of the former embassy cost the state $18.5 million dollars. (El Siglo)

The Front of the Santo Tomas Hospital on Balboa Avenue in Panama City, Panama

Editor's Comment: The land in question is the area (roughly) marked in the red box on the above annotated image. The old US embassy is now gone. The structure has been completely demolished and the rubble hauled away. The land next to the former US embassy is also owned by the government of Panama, and it will be used as part of the footprint for the new "Financial Tower" project. And of course, there are people who are opposed to this project - because no matter what happens you can bet that someone will come out in opposition. From a strictly economical point of view this project is a good idea for the government, because right now they are shelling out millions of dollars per month in rent. And, the facilities they are renting are old, worn out, too small, not comfortable or very functional, etc.

Share
  • Facebook
  • Google Bookmarks
View Printable Version

Idaan subcontracts Panama City sewerage repairs

Infrastructure UpgradesBusiness News Americas - Panama's national water utility Idaan has hired four private firms to help repair damaged sewerage systems in capital Panama City, local daily Capital reported. Ingeniería Total will repair damage in Panamá Centro and the surrounding areas. Inversiones Jabil will tackle damage in Chilibre, Distribuidora Arval will focus on San Miguelito, and Profusa will target Tocumen, Pedregal and Juan Díaz. Sewerage systems in many districts such as San Miguelito are extremely old and prone to collapsing, leading to many reports of damaged systems each day. Idaan hired the four firms as it is unable to carry out all the repairs, according to the report. The companies began work March 15, and as of April 6 had addressed 139 complaints. Idaan expects the companies to resolve around 2,000 cases of damaged pipelines by June 15. The work is budgeted at US$1mn. Panama City's expansion and zoning changes have failed to take into account the effect on water and sanitation, as large new buildings exceed Idaan's capacity to provide the service, according to the utility's director of operations, José Saavedra.
Share
  • Facebook
  • Google Bookmarks
View Printable Version

Centennial Bridge, Roadway Reorganization, and Projects Underway (Suck It Up)

Infrastructure UpgradesThe rehabilitation of the Centennial Bridge and the road realignment in Panama City are the two mega projects being handled by the Ministry of Public Works. The first should be completed in August or September, while the other is just beginning. On the Centennial Bridge, the Minister of Public Works Federico Suarez said the roadway is functional, however he recommended that drivers should proceed with moderate speed. Referring to the road realignment, Suarez this will be the solution to the collapse (over saturation) being experienced in Panama City. (Telemetro)

Editor's Comment: Every year there are about 30,000 new cars sold in Panama, while only about 5,000 or so are taken off of the road. Obviously there are now hundreds of thousands more cars on the streets than there were just ten years ago. Panama has built the Northern and Southern Corridors, effectively a sort of "beltway" around Panama City, but there's no real interconnection through the middle of the city that allows drivers to quickly and easily get from one side to the other. The plan calls for Via Brazil to be that mid-city interconnection. The MOP will be building new overpasses at every intersection where Via Brazil crosses another major roadway, like this intersection as depicted in the graphic illustration where it crosses Tumba Muerto at Plaza Edison. And as I have said in the past - if you think traffic in Panama City is a kluster now, wait until all of this simultaneous construction starts. Oh, and don't forget, they are also going to be ripping up the length of Vía España at the same time to build the new Metro subway system, that will run underground in this area. And the Ministers and government representatives keep talking about what's coming, and to my ears it's starting to sound like a dentist who's scheduling a root canal - it's coming, it has to happen, there's nothing we can do, it's going to hurt, so be prepared to suck it up (and please, don't kill us, we're just trying to help...)

Share
  • Facebook
  • Google Bookmarks
View Printable Version

No Water Service in Panama City Tomorrow Due To Maintenance Work in Chilibre Plant

Infrastructure Upgrades Tomorrow, Thursday, April 21, for a period of 15 hours there will be no water service to the districts of Panama and San Miguelito, as reported by the National Institute of Aqueducts and Sewage Systems (Idaan). This measure is due to maintenance work to be undertaken by Idaan and the Panama Canal Authority on the raw water supply intake gates of the Chilibre water treatment plant. According to the Idaan, the water supply will be suspended starting tomorrow at 12:00 noon and the outage will last until 3:00 am. In a statement, the Idaan asked the community to take steps to prevent shortages. (La Prensa)
Share
  • Facebook
  • Google Bookmarks
View Printable Version

Aegean Marine Petroleum Network Inc. Announces Expansion Plans in Panama

Infrastructure UpgradesBy Benzinga Staff - Aegean Marine Petroleum Network Inc. today announced it has been awarded a 20-year concession by the Panamanian Maritime Authority to operate onshore storage facilities in the ports of Cristobal and Balboa in Panama on an exclusive basis. The award is subject to the fulfillment of certain conditions by the Company and completion of definitive documentation with the appropriate Panamanian authorities. In addition, the Company has been pursuing the necessary approvals and, subject to receipt of such approvals, expects to commence physical supply operations in both Cristobal and Balboa by the end of the second quarter of 2011.
Share
  • Facebook
  • Google Bookmarks
View Printable Version

Now Water Service in Panama City and San Miguelito For Five Hours

Infrastructure UpgradesFor five hours, Panama City and San Miguelito will not have drinking water, starting at 12:00 noon, due to maintenance work being performed at the water treatment plant in Chilibre. Felix Robinson, of the National Institute of Aqueducts and Sewers, said the work started at 11:00 am. He explained the work is part of a process of ongoing maintenance to ensure a future flow of 280 million gallons of water, after the crisis of last December. According to Robinson, the impact from the suspension of water service will be minimal. (TVN Noticias)
Share
  • Facebook
  • Google Bookmarks
View Printable Version

Panama developing 16 new hydropower projects

Infrastructure UpgradesPANAMA CITY, Panama -- Panama is developing 16 hydroelectric power projects with a total of investment of more than $1 billion dollars to satisfy domestic power demand, news outlets reported. These private sector projects are expected to be completed by 2015. The new hydro projects are projected to add 700 MW of capacity to the power grid of the Central American country, according to People's Daily Online. In other news, Brazilian state-run utility holding group and hydro generator Eletrobras will open an office in Panama as part of its internationalization process, a spokesperson for the company told Business News Americas. This will be Eletrobras' third international office. The group opened offices in Uruguay and Peru in 2010.
Share
  • Facebook
  • Google Bookmarks
View Printable Version

Mexico's ICA Panama Wins $238 Million Dollar Road Construction Contract

Infrastructure UpgradesICA, the largest engineering and construction company in Mexico, announced today that the company won, together with the company Constructora Meco, a contract worth $238 million dollars to rebuild and expand the Ave. Domingo Díaz in Panama City, Panama. ICA, headquartered in Mexico City , said in a statement that the work, contracted by the Ministry of Public Works of Panama and should be completed within a maximum period of 36 months, and is part of a "road reorganization" plan developed by the Panamanian government. The winning consortium is made up of 70% by ICA and 30% by Meco. El reform project includes 12.3 kilometers of roadway, which goes from the connection at the Southern Corridor near the Tocumen International Airport, to the intersection with avenues Simón Bolívar and Ricardo J. Alfaro in the District of San Miguelito. "The avenue, the existing bridges and overpasses will be reconstructed and expanded from two to three lanes in both directions" and "improvement work will be done, such as the relocation of drainage and other public services," said ICA. The person responsible for Strategic Planning and the International area of ​​the Mexican company, Ruben Lopez, said ICA wants to "continue to expand its engineering and construction capabilities in select markets in Latin America." ICA said in the next five years the Mexican company expects that 50% of its revenues will come from abroad, mainly from Latin Latina. Right now ICA obtains only 5% if its revenues from other countries, which in 2011 they expect to increase to 10%. (Panama America)

Editor's Comment: Another $238 million dollars of government spending on infrastructure. The vast majority of this money will remain right here in Panama, spent by ICA on materials, fuel, services, payroll, supplies, subcontracts, etc. The government of Ricardo Martinelli is spending a whole lot of money on road and infrastructure projects - more than any previous administration - and while I like new roads, traffic in Panama City is going to be a complete Kluster of the first order for a couple of years while all of this is getting done. For example, they're going to build five overpasses - just on Via Brazil - while simultaneously building an underground Subway system along the length of Via Espana right through the middle of town. So, you should stay home, and don't come out until 2017 or so...

Share
  • Facebook
  • Google Bookmarks
View Printable Version

Drinking Water Supply Is Being Restored Gradually - Gonzalez Ruiz

Infrastructure UpgradesIn the afternoon, drinking water supply may be restored to the peripheral areas and higher elevations in the districts of Panama and San Miguelito, said the director of the National Institute of Aqueducts and Sewers (IDAAN). "In the morning we managed to restore normal drinking water production at the water purification plant in Chilibre (of 180 million gallons) so therefore water service should be reaching the peripheral areas that were affected little by little, and in the afternoon water should be reaching the higher lying areas," he said González Ruiz in a press conference. The official said there are seven working water pumps and therefore the delivery of drinking water will be restored for Panama City. He added that in some points on the periphery water service was never suspended, but gradually the water pressure is increasing and by this evening the higher elevations will have water service. He recommended to the public that everyone should remain calm, and that there is no need to create "chains" and that the official information will be provided by the institution. Starting at dawn today, IDAAN technicians working in conjunction with the Panama Canal Authority (ACP) conducted the repairs to replace the damaged pump at the raw water station of the Chilibre water treatment plant. Communities that were affected with low pressure or lack of supply were: Las Praderas de San Antonio, Linda Vista, San Antonio, Altos del Chase, Villa Lucre, Loma del Dorado, Brisas del Golf, Altos de Miraflores, La Arboleda del Golf, Villa de La Fuente 1 y 2, Loma del Cristo (San Miguelito), Los Ángeles, Andes 1 y 2, Bethania, Limajo, Condado del Rey, Altos de Panamá, El Bosque, Hato Pintado, El Dorado Parque Lefevre, Santa Mónica, La Siesta, Los Nogales 1 y 2, Sector Sur Tocumen, Victoriano Lorenzo, Las Mañanitas, Belén, Pedregal, Juan Díaz, Torremolino, Ciudad Radial, Parque del Este, Las Acacias, 24 de Diciembre, Don Bosco, Bello Horizonte, San Antonio de Tocumen. (Panama America)
Share
  • Facebook
  • Google Bookmarks
View Printable Version

A Third Bridge Over The Panama Canal Will Cost $300 Million Dollars

Infrastructure UpgradesColon - In the next three months the government of Panama will hold a public bidding process to let the contract for the construction of a third bridge over the Panama Canal, expected to cost in excess of $300 million dollars, said Panama's Vice President and Foreign Minister, Juan Carlos Varela, in the province of Colon. Varela, who was accompanied by his wife Lorena Castillo and the senior leaders of the Panameñista political party, spoke about this and other projects on the Atlantic coast during a public ceremony held by the organizers of the XXV National Fair of Colon. "I want to announce that over the next three months we are going to tender the construction of a new bridge over the Panama Canal, which will join the Lower Coast of Colon with the rest of the province and the country. This will be very important because it will open access to many remote communities so that they can be in the city in 15 minutes," said Varela, who at the same time promised to promote the Colon Fair to make it an international event. Varela also said that in the next 24 months they would hold a public bid to let the contract for the construction of between 3,000 to 5,000 new homes in areas close to the city of Colon, with the aim of eventually being able to eliminate the condemned houses in this city. (La Prensa)

Miguel de la Borda - Currently the end of the road along the Lower Coast of the province of Colon.

Editor's Comment: This new bridge is a big deal that will play a role in opening up the "Lower Coast" of the province of Colon to development. If you want to see what's in play, drive over there one of these days. You can get to Sabanitas from Panama City in no time thanks to the new highway. Drive down to the "cuatro altos" (four stops) and turn left into the former Canal Zone. Drive down to the Gatun Locks of the Panama Canal and go across the bridge (after waiting for the ships to pass) but don't go straight like you would to go to Fort Sherman. Turn left and go around behind the back side of Gatun Lake. Turn right at the road that goes to Achiote and Piña. This road will drop you down onto the "lower coast" of the province of Colon. When the road hits the coast turn left (away from Piña) and follow it all the way down to Miguel de la Borda, past Nuevo Chagres, Palmas Bellas, Salud, La Ensenada, Vista Hermosa, and Gobea. Currently the road ends at Miguel de la Borda and there is no bridge over the river there. However, there are plans to link Colon and Bocas del Toro with a road all the way along this coast. When that happens, then land values all along this coast will skyrocket. Just the construction of the new bridge will open this entire area up, thanks to improved access to civilization. Right now it's mostly just sleepy little (drug trafficking) fishing villages. That's going to change. Smart investors with cash will buy now and sit, then sell once the new bridge opens. Just a few years ago this road was dirt and mud and you needed a 4x4 to get to Miguel de la Borda. The road was improved and paved during the administration of Martin Torrijos and the last time I went there you could do it in a Corolla, however it's been awhile and I don't know that condition the road is in now. I've been over there lately, just not all the way down to Miguel de la Borda, so if you do it please take pictures and send me a road-trip report...

Share
  • Facebook
  • Google Bookmarks
View Printable Version

Repairs to Centennial Bridge Cost $33 Million Dollars

Infrastructure UpgradesThe repairs to the access road for the Centennial Bridge, which collapsed last December 2010 as a result of heavy rains, will cost $33 million dollars. This according to the report submitted by the Ministry of Economy and Finance to the National Assembly which requests a waiver in the established fiscal deficit limit, say sources within the institution. That amount represents 44.8% of the total investment in infrastructure which the government will have to absorb. This turns out to be 31.6% of what it cost to build the entire bride in the first place, at a cost of $104.3 million dollars. The Ministry of Public Works is talking to the companies in charge of the work in order to identify who might be responsible. (La Prensa)
Share
  • Facebook
  • Google Bookmarks
View Printable Version

IDAAN Suspended Drinking Water Supply on Vía España For Five Hours

Infrastructure UpgradesThe people and businesses who live and work in the areas of Vía España and Calle 50 will not have water for about four to five hours today, according to the spokesman from the Institute of Aqueducts and Sewers (IDAAN), Thabanny Beitía. According Beitía, water service will be cut shortly because IDAAN has to make repairs to a major water main that is damaged. She added when speaking to Noticias AM that they will let people know when the water is going to be turned back on. (Panama America)

Share
  • Facebook
  • Google Bookmarks
View Printable Version

Panama's New Metro Subway System Will Cost More Than $1.8 Billion Dollars

Infrastructure UpgradesThe first line of Panama's new Metro subway system will cost the state approximately $1.8 billion dollars, reflecting an increase of $348 million dollars more than previous cost estimates. Robert Roy, the Executive Secretary of the Metro, and Frank De Lima, the Deputy Economy Minister confirmed that the project will cost more for different reasons: they are studying the possibility of extending the line from Los Andes to San Isidro, in addition to the removal of public services, compensation, expropriation, and project management. These adjustments are not covered by the contract between the state and the consortium Linia Uno, formed by Odebrecht, FCC and Alstom, which remains at $1.452 billion dollars. However, they are present in the Government's plans. In fact, when on 15 March, the Andean Development Corporation announced the approval of a loan for $400 million dollars for the construction of Metro, they stated in their press release that the total estimated cost would be $1.805 billion dollars. The new figure does not include the construction of the yards and workshops of the Metro - a contract that should be put out on tender - or the possible increases due to the rising price of oil. (La Prensa)

Editor's Comment: The nice part about these kinds of projects is that the vast majority of the money spent to build the new subway system will remain in Panama, paid in the form of salaries, supplies, fuel, services, etc.

Share
  • Facebook
  • Google Bookmarks
View Printable Version

Martinelli Inaugurates Metro Line 1 Construction Project

Infrastructure UpgradesAt a ceremony to commemorate the initiation of the construction on Line 1 of the new Panama Metro subway system, the President of the Republic, Ricardo Martinelli said this project was part of what he promised during the election campaign which is now being fulfilled because previous administrations have not heeded the needs of the people. The president, who was accompanied by the Vice President and Foreign Minister Juan Carlos Varela and the President of Costa Rica Laura Chinchilla as a special guest, said that by 2012 they will be holding the public bidding process for the contract to build the second line of the Metro subway system, that will run from the neighborhood of 24 de Diciembre to Albrook. Line 1 will have a length of approximately 14 kilometers, starting in the area of ​​Los Andes and it will follow Via Transístmica and then continue on Fernández de Córdoba, following Vía España, then Avenida Justo Arosemena and continuing until the 5th of May plaza, from there to the government offices and ending at the Albrook bus terminal. For his part, Roberto Roy, the Secretary of the Panama Metro system, said this year they plan to start the construction of the five elevated and eight underground subway stations that are part of the subway system. This system will have the capacity to carry as many as 15,000 passengers per hour in each direction. The company Odeberch and the consortium FCC are responsible for the work of the construction of Metro Line 1. (Panama America)

Share
  • Facebook
  • Google Bookmarks
View Printable Version

Centennial Bridge Could Reopen In Two Weeks

Infrastructure Upgrades In two weeks the Ministry of Public Works (MOP) may order the reopening of vehicular traffic on the Centennial Bridge. The announcement was made Minister Federico José Suárez. According to the Minister, traffic flow would be in both directions and could include the passage of heavy equipment. Suarez also revealed that the report on how the damage occurred is about to be released. He also said that part of the situation was caused because not enough was invested in the roadway when it was originally built. (TVN Noticias)
Share
  • Facebook
  • Google Bookmarks
View Printable Version

Get Ready For Roadway Construction Induced Traffic Jams

Infrastructure UpgradesPublic Works Minister, Federico José Suárez, said this morning on the Channel 2 TVN news broadcast that on Friday this week at 9:00 am they would be opening the financial proposals for the roadway realignment plan for the bids that were held five months ago, involving four intersections - Vía Brazil with Calle 50, Via Brazil with Vía Israel, Via Brazil with Transístmica, and Via Brazil with Ricardo J. Alfaro (Tumba Muerto) at Plaza Edison. The Minister announced that the road Domingo Diaz (or Tocumen) be expanded to six lanes starting from the bridge at San Miguelito to the Hotel Riande, but must be the provision in the center for the construction of the second Metro line. In Panama Viejo they will also build a new road, a four lane boulevard, away from historical monuments to preserve them. (TVN Noticias)

Editor's Comment: The fact that the government of Panama is going to be spending millions of dollars on roadway and infrastructure improvements in Panama City is both the good and the bad news. Obviously Via Brazil is going to be the new central North to South artery that will connect the Southern Corridor near Multiplaza and Punta Pacifica to the Northern Corridor, right through the middle of town. And of course construction is also about to start on the tunneling for the new Metro subway system. Considering that daily traffic is already a nightmare, what do you think is going to happen once all of these simultaneous construction projects kick into high gear? It's going to be a massive Kluster*uck, that's what. I'm going to buy one of those little electric scooters (seriously) so I can at least get around when necessary. It's either that or put a bedroll in the Jeep. Hey, I know - we have to put up with some pain in order to enjoy the progress, right?

Share
  • Facebook
  • Google Bookmarks
View Printable Version

Panamanian Government Will Invest $100 Million in Indigenous Areas

Infrastructure UpgradesPanama's president Ricardo Martinelli gave some very good news to the indigenous areas of the country while attending the inauguration of the improvements made to the Basic Education Center (CEBG) in the neighborhood of 24 de Diciembre. With support from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) Panama signed an agreement to invest $100 million dollars in the regions of the Kuna Yala, Emberá Wounan and Ngäbe Buglé. Of this total, $30 million dollars will go to support education in the area, and another $70 million dollars will be used to build roads in areas that are difficult to access. Happy for the improvements - Apart from this announcement, the educational community CEBG in the neighborhood of 24 de Diciembre was celebrating. It is that one of their old aspirations finally came true. At a cost of more than $1.5 million dollars several projects were completed, including the expansion and repair of twelve classrooms, restrooms, water fountains, the construction of a new soccer field with a synthetic surface, as well as improvements to the science and computer labs. (Mi Diario)

Editor's Comment: And so, it begins. Look for the government of Panama to be finding new ways to spend money in the indigenous areas. Now that he has declared "peace" and relented on the mining issue, he will be trying to find new ways to make these people happy with him and his administration. Lots of ways. Meaning, lots of money, projects, investments in infrastructure, you name it. He needs to get these votes back into this camp, and he can't afford to spend the rest of his term in office fighting with them.

Share
  • Facebook
  • Google Bookmarks
View Printable Version

Cabinet Authorizes Acquisition of "Pele Marine" System

Infrastructure UpgradesThe Executive Cabinet Council authorized the Panama Maritime Authority to acquire a system known as the "Pele Marine" for $5.3 million dollars. The purchase of the equipment, which was published in Official Gazette, is a control system for the inspection of Panamanian-registered ships and the seafarers who work on these ships. Similarly, the system will simplify and streamline the tasks of inspectors, both of the Directorate General of Seafarers, and the Directorate General of Merchant Marine. The equipment and computers necessary for the implementation and operation of the system will be purchased through the company PELE SYSTEM INC. (Panama America)

Editor's Comment: Coincidence? Maybe. Ismael Sagel Lopez works for the Directorate General of Merchant Marine of the Panama Maritime Authority. Maybe in the future he will have this little handheld computer device - the "Pele Marine" system - that he will be able to use to check on boats in this territory, do things like issue and register cruising permits, issue departure authorizations, etc. - all electronically and tied into a nationwide computer database. Something like this would make it much harder for a guy like Javier Martin to get away with killing people to steal their boats, for example. Once you're registered in the system, then any inspector on the water would be able to simply plug in the name of your boat, for example, and all of the information in the database would be instantly available on the handheld device. Ain't technology wonderful.

Share
  • Facebook
  • Google Bookmarks
View Printable Version

Options Being Discussed For New Airport at Rio Hato

Infrastructure UpgradesThe Director of the Civil Aviation Authority, Rafael Barcenas, said on the channel 2 TVN morning news broadcast that they are considering two options for the construction of a new international airport in Rio Hato. President Ricardo Martinelli decided that based on the studies, Rio Hato where the airport will be built, thus ending a dispute among several municipalities to be the headquarters of the new international airport in the interior of the country. Barcenas explained that they are analyzing what would be the most viable economic proposition: they could either build a tunnel for the Inter American highway to pass underneath the runway of the new airport, or they could extend the runway to the North and build the entire airport on that side of the highway, in an area where the state already owns some 7,000 hectares of land. They have not yet made a final decision. (TVN Noticias)

Editor's Comment: Google Earth Placemark - If you click on this link a Google Earth placemark file should automatically download to your computer. If you open that file, the Google Earth program should open and it should "fly" you to the point where the Inter American highway crosses over the runway at Rio Hato. The government of Panama has decided to build a new international airport at Rio Hato, and this article is about them trying to decide what to do about the traffic. Back in the "old days" when Rio Hato was a military field, they would just stop the traffic on the road when a plane was taking off or landing.

Share
  • Facebook
  • Google Bookmarks
View Printable Version

Second Phase of Highway Progressing

Infrastructure UpgradesWork is advancing at a good pace on the construction of the second phase of the Madden-Colón highway. This part of the project covers a distance of 35 miles and is a contract valued at $218 million dollars. The work should be done and the road opened by July 2012. (Panama America)

Editor's Comment: Currently the highway to Colon ends just before the Rey supermarket in Sabanitas. This project will extend the highway the remaining distance, most of the way to downtown Colon. Right now you can zip over to Sabanitas in no time, but then the slow crawl to Colon takes another hour, at least, more during rush hour.

Share
  • Facebook
  • Google Bookmarks
View Printable Version

Wind energy projects in Panama

Infrastructure UpgradesIn order to facilitate the construction and installation of wind turbines and renewable plants in general, and to regulate their development in Panama, the Government is drawing up a new legal framework. The Panamanian authorities have approved 25 applications for the construction of wind farm projects totaling 2,064 MW. A new regulatory framework will promote renewable energy sector. Wind power generation is a priority option for the government of Panama in order to increase the renewable share in the country’s electricity balance. The latter was confirmed by the National Authority of Public Services (ASEP), which informed that 25 wind turbines applications for the construction of wind farms have already been approved. Five of these have already received final authorization while the others are still waiting for the process to be completed. However, for the time being, only one wind farm project is actually under construction, in the province of Coclé, with a capacity of 225 MW. If all the submitted wind farm projects were to be implemented, the new installed capacity would amount to 2,064 MW, which alone could nearly cover the country’s total electricity needs, currently met with an installed capacity of 1,650 MW (mainly from oil) and partly from imports. In order to facilitate the construction and installation of wind turbines and renewable plants in general, and to regulate their development in Panama, the Government is drawing up a new legal framework. (evwind.es)
Share
  • Facebook
  • Google Bookmarks
View Printable Version

ACP Will Manage The Chilibre Water Treatment Plant

Infrastructure UpgradesPresident Ricardo Martinelli announced today that the Chilibre Water Treatment Plant will be managed by the Panama Canal Authority (ACP). He said next week he will meet with ACP authorities and that they will be the ones who will administer, manage and operate the Chilibre water treatment plant. "We need the Canal Authority to take control of the water treatment plant so that the situation which we have been going through since 8 December 2010 does not happen again in the capital city," he added. Martinelli said the law which regulates the Institute of Aqueducts and Sewers (IDAAN) must be changed in order to give them additional further autonomy and financial capability. (Panama America)

Panamanian President Ricardo Martinelli

Editor's Comment: Message = The IDAAN doesn't know how to effectively manage a water treatment plant. What about the plants in La Chorrera? Is the ACP going to run them as well?

Share
  • Facebook
  • Google Bookmarks