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Third Bridge Spans Panama Canal

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

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On Friday (Aug. 2), Panamanian President Laurentino Cortizo, and Panama Canal Administrator Jorge Quijano unveiled the third bridge to cross the Panama Canal, which forges a new link between the North American and South American continents.

VINCI Construction Grands Projets spearheaded construction on the project, known as the Atlantic Bridge. Design was handled by China Communication Construction Company, which is composed of HPDI and Louis Berger Group. According to VINCI, the bridge is located 3 kilometers (roughly 1.86 miles) north of the Gatun locks, not far from the city of Colón.

Panama Bridge History

To facilitate transport, the bridge—a cable-stayed, dual two-lane endeavor—was built with a 75-meter (roughly 246-foot) clearance to accommodate traffic from the Post-Panamax container ships, as part of canal expansion work. The bridge is 1,050 meters long, with the main span running 530 meters long and pylons standing 212.5 meters high. The 530-meter-long main span makes the bridge the world’s longest concrete cable-stayed bridge.

According to ArchDaily, construction work began in 2013, an endeavor that focused on connecting Colón to the west of the canal. The structure was completed using reinforced concrete, a choice that factors in added resilience to the area’s corrosive environment.

VINCI indicates on its website that in order to prevent obstructing canal traffic, the team could not carry out work in shipping channels, which meant that the bridge deck had to be cast in place, which was done using the cantilevering method. Bridge deck girders were also cast in place, standing 2.8 meters high and supported by cables every 8 meters.

The project was built for Autoridad del Canal de Panamá, using 175,000 square meters of concrete and 35,000 tons of steel.

The first two bridges to cross the Panama Canal were the Bridge of the Americas and the Centennial Bridge. VINCI’s track record includes work on the Pont de Normandie, located in France; the Severn Crossing, located in the United Kingdom; the Confederation Bridge, located in Canada; and Rion-Antirion Bridge, located in Greece.


Tagged categories: Bridges; Completed projects; concrete; Corrosion protection; Infrastructure; NA; North America; Program/Project Management; Project Management; SA; South America

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