Press release19 July 2019
On Friday, 2 August 2019, Panamanian President, Laurentino Cortizo, and Panama Canal Administrator, Jorge Quijano, unveiled the Atlantic Bridge in Colón, Panama. This exceptional 4.6 km structure, including 3.1 km of exceptional engineering structures, located 3 km north of the Gatun and Agua Clara locks, creates a new link between the North American and South American continents that can be used whether the canal locks are in operation or not.
Due to the adversity of the Panamanian tropical climate on the Atlantic side, a technical solution entirely made of reinforced concrete was chosen by the Panama Canal Authority rather than a metal structure. The central span (the bridge section that spans the canal), consisting of 530 metres of concrete deck located 75 metres above sea level, constitutes a world record for a cable-stayed bridge, while its two towers dominate the waters of the Atlantic Ocean at over 210 metres high. The foundations of these towers, anchored in highly unstable ground subject to potentially major seismic disturbances, posed a veritable challenge.
In order for work to be carried out without interrupting the transit of container ships, four innovative form travellers, each weighing 240 tonnes, were used to build the central span.
Thanks to a strong and shared safety culture during the design and construction of this unique engineering structure, it was completed without any serious accidents.
The construction of this bridge relied heavily on the Group's expertise in synergy: VINCI Construction Grands Projets built the infrastructure, Rodio Swissboring Panamá, subsidiary of Soletanche Bachy, created the deep foundations and Freyssinet installed the stays.