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Construction of Central America’s First Metro to Begin in January and Last 3 Years

By Dialogo
December 01, 2010

Construction of a subway system in the Panamanian capital, the first subway in Central America, will begin in January and will last thirty-eight months, the government announced following the signing of the contract with a consortium of firms from France, Spain, and Brazil.

The contract, worth 1.447 billion dollars, was awarded to the Línea Uno consortium by the Metro Secretariat after it won the competition on 27 October.

The consortium is made up of the French firm Alstom, the Brazilian firm Norberto Odebrecht, and the Spanish firm Fomento de Construcciones y Contratos.

“We’ll have many traffic blockages, and it will take us a little longer to get to our destinations, but this will be the price of progress for our country,” said President Ricardo Martinelli, who witnessed the signing of the contract.

The Panamanian capital has severe public-transportation problems, and this project was one of Martinelli’s chief campaign promises.

The head of the Metro Secretariat, Roberto Roy, said that the contract signing marks the start of an “important stage in this project, which will now become a reality.”
“It’s projected that (construction) will conclude in approximately thirty-eight months, and more than three thousand workers will participate,” Roy added.

Construction is expected to begin in January on the subway, which will take twenty-three minutes to travel the almost fourteen kilometers from the populous municipality of San Miguelito to the Albrook bus terminal.

The trains will be provided by the French firm Alstom and will have “lower energy consumption,” Roy indicated.