The Centennial Bridge Panama is a bridge crossing the Panama Canal. It was built to ease traffic Bridge of the Americas and replace the route of the inter-American highway. Since its opening in 2004 has become the second permanent bridge across the canal.
The Centennial Bridge is the second permanent bridge to cross the Panama Canal, the first bridge was the Bridge of the Americas. Other bridges smaller were built at the gates of the Miraflores locks and Gatun, but these bridges can only be used when the doors of the gates are closed, and they have a very strict limit capacity.
The Centennial Bridge is located 15 kilometers (9 miles) north of the Bridge of the Americas and crosses the Gaillard Cut close to the Pedro Miguel locks. The new sections of the highway connecting Arraijan to Cerro This Patacón in the east via the bridge, significantly easing congestion with the Bridge of the Americas.
The Bridge of the Americas, which opened in 1962, was the only permanent bridge over the Panama Canal. Traffic from this bridge was originally around 9,500 vehicles per day; however, eventually it grew and by 2004 the bridge was used by 35,000 vehicles per day.
Since the bridge represented the biggest bottleneck on the Pan American Highway, Minister of Public Works requested a construction of a second bridge to cross the canal in October 2000. the contract to build a replacement bridge was awarded in March 2002. An ambitious agenda only 29 months was planned for construction in order that the bridge was opened on the 90th anniversary of the first ship transit through the Panama canal was the steamship Ancon, on August 15, 1914. the bridge name was due to the centennial of Panama that was on 3 November 2003.
the new bridge was designed by a joint venture between TY Lin International and Louis Berger Group Inc. the architect Miguel Rosales Rosales transport and associated with Boston – based design and original aesthetic concept designs for the Centennial Bridge. The contracts of structures and construction engineering were awarded to Leonhardt Andra and associates and construction Bilfinger Berger based in Germany.
The bridge was opened on time on August 15, 2004 although it was opened for traffic on September 2 2005, when new roads leading to it were completed.
The bridge is a cable-stayed design with a total length of 1,052 m (3451 ft) main arch is 320 m (1,050 ft) and with an elevation of 80 meters (262 feet) above the Panama Canal allowing large ships pass by below this. The bridge is supported by two towers of 184 m (604 ft) high. It has the capacity to accommodate six lanes of traffic through the canal. The bridge was designed to withstand earthquakes which are frequently recorded in the canal zone.
The west tower of the bridge was built 50 meters inland to allow expansion of the Panama Canal.