The new four-lane bridge at Sixaola is expected to make major changes in the sleepy Caribbean coast and in the adjacent northern Panamá
The bridge will be part of what is called the Red Internacional de Carreteras Mesoamericanas, which is a regional integration project promoted by México. This is why México is investing $10 million in building the new bridge.
An announcement Tuesday about the start of construction said that the bridge would contribute to an integrated, economical, secure and efficient transportation system.
Costa Rica is putting up $5 million for the project. The temporary bailey bridge will be replaced.
Transport officials noted Monday that some of the wood decking of the existing pedestrian bridge has been replaced. This is the old rail bridge that was built in 1908. Until recently, the converted rail bridge was the only one and carried motor transport, too.
The current bailey bridge is 244 meters (800 feet) long.
The new bridge is part of the Proyecto de Integración y Desarrollo de Mesoamérica to strengthen an Atlantic corridor. Officials hope this will result in economic and social development.
Initially the new bridge will benefit about 20,000 persons living in the area.
The bridge project was announced in early March. A release Tuesday from the Agencia Mexicana de Cooperación Internacional para el Desarrollo outlined some of the anticipated impacts.
The project has been 10 years in planning. The construction will take about 28 months.
The potential impact has to be viewed as part of a larger picture that includes two major container-handling facilities in Moín to the north and the Las Tablillas border post that opened in northern Costa Rica this month.
In addition, there is renewed effort in Panamá for constructing a road link through the Darien Gap jungle. This would unite North and South America.
The province of Limón is among the country’s poorest, and the southern part is mostly dependent on tourism and agriculture.