Construction is expected to start soon on a new bridge over the Sixaola River, connecting Panama, and Costa Rica.

Delegations from the two countries have been busily working on the myriad of details involved in the bridge, including the border crossing. The design for the new bridge, which includes lanes for cyclists and pedestrians, has been approved by the United Nations Office for Project Services, clearing the way for the start of construction, officials said at a meeting last week.

“We have achieved important results,” Costa Rican Deputy Minister of Infrastructure Guiselle Alfaro said at a press conference.

The bridge has been in the works for years and could speed land connections between the two countries. The new bridge will also have a rail connection, which could become a key if plans progress to create a new China-backed rail line from Panama City to David.

Work is progressing in many areas, the officials said at the press conference. The existing rail bridge is about 70 percent dismantled and construction of a temporary bridge that will serve as a work platform is about 30 percent complete.

Panamanian Deputy Minister of Public Works Erich Velázquez cited the “complexity” of coordinating all the different elements as one of the challenges facing the project.

The bridge, expected to cost about $17.5 million, is scheduled to be completed in 2019, officials said.


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