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John A. Weeks III
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Highways, Byways, And Bridge Photography
Centennial Bridge
Pan American Highway Panama Canal Crossing At Paraiso
Paraiso, Panama

Under Construction

• Bridge: Centennial Bridge
• City: Paraiso
• Country: Panama
• Carries: Pan American Highway
• Crosses: Panama Canal
• Date Opened: August 15, 2004
• Total Length: 3,451 Feet
• Longest Span: 1,050 Feet
• Tower Height: 604 Feet
• Deck Width:
• Number Of Lanes: 6
• Number Of Spans: 1
• Height Above Water: 262 Feet
• Traffic Count:
The only major bridge across the Panama Canal, the Bridge Of The Americas, was becoming a major bottleneck in the late 1990's. A second canal bridge was needed. The new bridge was built about 10 miles upstream from Panama City. It would connect with a new freeway to form a Pan American Highway bypass of the metro area, and a spur highway would connect to the Atlantic Ocean side of the country. The new bridge is expected to reduce traffic on the existing bridge by 50 percent.

The new Panama Canal crossing was started in early 2002. The bridge contracts allowed for just over 2 years to complete the structure, which was opened as part of Panama's centennial. Thus, the name Centennial Bridge. The bridge was finished August 15, 2004, but the highways leading to the bridge were not finished until a year later. Traffic started using the bridge on September 2, 2005.

The bridge design has two main towers. The roadway consists of 2 parallel bridge decks connected by steel. The cable system connects to the steel between the two roadways. The towers are set on dry land, resulting in the long main span. The Panama Canal is being enlarged, so the width will someday be needed. The bridge is also unusually high above the water. As it turns out, the canal is in a deep cut, so the roadway is nearly level as it crosses the canal. The height is needed due to a mobile rescue crane that sails the canal waters, and the bridge needed to be tall enough to allow this giant crane to pass under.


Under Construction

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