China Communications wins legal fight to build Panama’s fourth bridge

A consortium formed of China Communications Construction Company and its subsidiary China Harbour Engineering Company has won a legal battle to build the fourth bridge over the Panama Canal, the government of the Central American state announced Tuesday (31 July).

The giant state-owned contractor won the contract in June but the award was suspended after the decision was appealed by competing bidders, including fellow Chinese contractors.

The other teams in the race for the $1.4bn project were Spanish infrastructure contractor Dragados’ Panamanian subsidiary, Astaldi of Italy and Daelim of Korea, as well as the China State Construction Engineering Corporation and China Railways Group.

The decision had been appealed by the Astaldi/Daelim team, who were later joined by the losing Chinese bidders.  

The 1.2km cable-stayed bridge will be 50m wide and carry six lanes for vehicles and two for the trains of the future Metro Line 3.

It will be built north of the Bridge of the Americas, near the Balboa port installations, and will connect Panama City to its western suburbs.

China Harbour Engineering is also competing to build the metro line, as part of the Oriental consortium along with Beijing Urban Construction Group.

Construction is expected to begin this year and will take three years to complete.

Relations between Panama and China have warmed in recent months after the former’s decision to sever ties with Taiwan, after which Panama’s commerce minister said his country hoped to become the point of entry for Chinese investments and products for the region.

Image: The bridge design is by Irish consulting engineer Roughan & O’Donovan

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