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The magic of the Coastal Strip
The Coastal Strip III is still a relatively new attraction for Panama City. The route connects the neighborhoods of El Chorrillo, San Felipe and Barraza with the rest of the town. Huge swaths have been set aside for outdoor pursuits and the new project has helped to resolve some of the area’s traffic congestion.
The strip construction cost approximately $782 million and was built by the Brazilian company Odebrecht. It connects the Amador Causeway with a four lane roadway to alleviate the vehicular gridlock. The Strip offers 2.6 kilometers of landscaping, an intermediate green area that will divide the pedestrian zone with the bicycle lane, three lookouts and a natural green area that separates the pedestrian viaduct with the vehicular one. Approximately 37.6 hectares of landfill was created.
Other amenities include squares for events, five children’s parks with facilities for the handicapped, a skateboard ring, sports courts, a “fritodromo” (where fried food can be bought, especially from the El Chorrillo sector) and 500 extra parking spaces.
There are future plans to build a phase IV that will connect the sector of Paitilla with the “marine viaduct” of the Southern Corridor. Although the project is not in the immediate plans of the MOP, engineering studies are already being done, according to the head of Special Projects of this entity, Carlos Ho. According to the official, Phase 4 of the Coastal Strip would skirt the residential area of Punta Paitilla, and would be 2.25 kilometers long. Early design concepts of this pathway indicate only roads and green areas would be included.
The costs and the final design are still in draft and have not yet been defined; however, the authorities of the MOP are betting that this project will help greatly with respect to traffic in Paitilla. He added they are considering options such as a “semi tunnel,” a marine viaduct, or landfill.