The MOP Detected Errors in the Arraiján Vehicle Bridge - Expat Community

The MOP Detected Errors in the Arraiján Vehicle Bridge

Jun 12, 2024 | News & Articles, Panama | 0 comments

by Marlene Testa

A bridge costing approximately $400 million, which will connect the eight lanes of the highway being constructed in the Arraiján district and help reduce the tedious traffic jams, does not meet the required measurements for vehicle traffic. This was revealed in a complaint made on social media via a video posted on the @ingjuliorobles account.

“In Panama Oeste, the Ministry of Public Works (MOP) built a vehicle bridge that was supposed to be a solution for traffic jams. But it turns out that some genius at the MOP decided to ‘play’ with the measurements and made it so narrow that cars can’t even fit through it,” reads the Instagram account of @ingjuliorobles.

The bridge’s width is three meters. However, a person on Instagram who reported the issue explains that the bridge should be 3.60 meters wide.

Regarding the issue, Rafael Sabonge, the Minister of the MOP, posted a message on his X (formerly Twitter) account. “Five days before the video, the project inspectors had sent this memo to the Acciona Meco Consortium.”

The message includes a document titled “Field Memorandum” from June 5, 2024, regarding the project: Expansion to eight lanes of the bridge of the Americas, Arraiján.

The document explains that during a field inspection on May 29 and 30, 2024, in the axis 331 area, where New Jersey barrier construction work is being carried out on the E-15 reinforced earth wall, the MOP’s inspection and quality assurance team found that the lane width is 3.07 meters, measured from the edge of the right jersey to the left.

This distance, the document says, does not include the width of the thermoplastic paint to be applied. The designed lane width is 3.00 meters, which should be measured from center to center of the marking line (thermoplastic paint), the document states.

In conclusion: “The MOP Inspection and Quality Assurance team considers that this lane does not have the adequate width for the safe transit of vehicles due to the visual impact of the New Jersey barriers, so a meeting with those involved in the lane design is requested, as it is essential that it has the adequate width for the safe passage of vehicles.” The report is accompanied by an image of the lane under construction.

La Estrella de Panamá tried, unsuccessfully, to speak with Minister Rafael Sabonge about the issue. In a statement issued by the institution, it is explained that the access lanes to the vehicle bridge connecting the Burunga sector have not yet received the ministry’s final review.

In December 2023, the MOP’s project to expand the Pan-American Highway, section: Bridge of the Americas-Arraiján, recorded an 80% physical progress.

At that time, the director of the institution’s Office of Special Projects, Engineer Gilberto Marengo, detailed that the progress of the work covers various stages of construction, highlighting activities such as common, disposable, and rock excavations, as well as the construction of bridges and drainage works.


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