The much needed fixed canal crossing at Colon (the Caribbean end of the canal) moved a step closer this month with the announcement that two consortia and one company had presented pre-qualification documentation in the hope of qualifying to bid to build the new bridge.
Currently, the only way to cross at the Atlantic side is via the Gatun locks, on a floating pontoon bridge that has to be moved out of the way every time a ship passes through the canal. The lack of a crossing at Colon has certainly not helped the city’s development, and the construction of a permanent crossing is long overdue.
Representatives from Odebrecht – Hyundai Joint Venture (Brazil – Korea); Acciona Infraestructuras – Tradeco (Spain – Mexico); and Vinci Construction Grands Projets (France) completed the firs stage of the process by submitting their proposals for evaluation. Firms which meet the basic requirements will move to the second and final phase of the process, for which the ACP will release a request for proposals (RFP).
In just over a month’s time, the names of the pre-qualified firms will be announced, and can then move to the second stage for the final selection of the contractor who will build the bridge. The company/consortia who make it to this phase will be required to submit proposals and conduct site visits and surveys at the location of the new bridge. The deadline to receive proposals is scheduled for July 2012. The bridge design is inspired by similar Structures which have already been built in Spain, Korea, France, China and Japan. The 4.6 kilometer long, twin pylon, cable-stayed bridge will feature two lanes of traffic in each direction and will stand 75 meters above sea level. The bridge will be located 3 kilometers north of Gatun Locks and the new Post-Panamax locks on the Atlantic side province of Colon.