Vinci wins record-breaking Panama Bridge contract

By Chris Sleight16 November 2012

Vinci Construction Grands Projets has won the contract to build a bridge over the Panama Canal on th

Vinci Construction Grands Projets has won the contract to build a bridge over the Panama Canal on the Atlantic side. The record-breaking 530 m concrete central span will be cast in situ to avoid disru

Vinci Construction Grands Projets has won the US$ 366 million contract to build the Atlantic Bridge over the Panama Canal. The contract was awarded by the Panama Canal Authority (ACP), the government agency responsible for operating, maintaining, managing, preserving and modernising the canal.

The bridge will be located 3 km north of the Gatun locks, near the city of Colon on Panama’s north coast. The contract covers construction of a 1,050 m-long cable-stayed concrete bridge carrying two lines of traffic in each direction, with a central span of 530 m and pylons with a height of 213 m. It will have a vertical clearance of 75 m above the canal. According to Vinci, the Atlantic Bridge will be the longest concrete cable stayed bridge in the world.

The 75 m clearance is required to allow passage of the large, Post-Panamax size container, in accordance with other aspects of the canal expansion programme. It will also allow vehicles to cross the Panama Canal on the Atlantic side, whether or not the locks are in use.

One of the requirements of the scheme is that to avoid disrupting shipping in the canal, no work will be carried out in the waterway itself. This means Vinci will cast the bridge deck in-situ.

The contract also includes construction of access viaducts on either side of the bridge with a total length of 2 km, together with connections to the existing road network. Work is expected to start in January 2013 and last 3 ½ years.

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