QCOSTARICA – After almost three years of starting the work and four before that to the get contract awarded, authorities of the governments of Costa Rica and Panama inaugurated this Thursday the Binational bridge on the Sixaola, in Talamanca, Limón.
The structure, which cost US$25 million, was due to be ready in October of last year. However, when it was awarded, back in 2016, the cost was estimated at US$17.5 million, with funds coming from the Mesoamerican Infrastructure Fund of the Mexican Government and counterparts from both countries.
One of the main delays occurred at the beginning of last year when the works were stopped on the Panamanian side due to the covid-19 pandemic.
The foreign ministers of Costa Rica and Panama, Rodolfo Solano and Erika Mouynes, respectively, participated in this Thursday’s activity, as well as the Ministers of Public Works, Rodolfo Méndez Mata (Costa Rica) and Rafael Sabonge (Panama), as well as Maximiliano Reyes Zúñiga, Mexico’s Undersecretary of Foreign Relations for Latin America and the Caribbean.
Méndez Mata assured that this work is key for the mobility of goods, not only in Costa Rica and Panama, but for the entire Mesoamerican region.
Meanwhile, the Minister of Public Works of Panama, Rafael Sabonge, stressed that the bridge will favor the needs throughout the region to restore the economy in countries hit by the pandemic.
The authorities also indicated that the work is a sample of the good relations that exist between Costa Rica and Panama.
“The completion of this project is a reflection of the commitment of both nations despite the complex context that the pandemic has caused. We worked diligently to finalize an initiative that brings well-being and progress, and that also strengthens our ties of friendship with our sister nation, Panama. I also appreciate Mexico’s contribution to strengthening the development of the region,” said the Costa Rican foreign minister.
The 260-meter (853 feet) long structure has two lanes, with a width of 16.4 meters; sidewalks and bicycle lanes on both sides, as well as access ramps at both ends and the necessary infrastructure for the administrative offices of the two countries.
Of the total cost, US$10 million were contributed by the Mesoamerica-Government of Mexico Fund; while Costa Rica and Panama contributed US$7.5 million each.
The work was managed by the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS) and was in charge of the Sixaola Binational consortium, made up of the companies Constructora Meco of Costa Rica and the Mexican companies Cal y Mayor Asociados and Mexpresa.
Some 15,000 residents of the border towns of Guabito and Sixaola will benefit, along with the about 150,000 people who cross that land border each year (under normal opening conditions).