The Panamanian government recently announced the extension of the Cinta Costera to Casco Viejo. The Brazilian Company Norberto Odebrecht has been commissioned to construct the second phase of the infrastructure project. The 52 million dollar transportation project extends the existing highway from the Panama’s Fish Market running along the waterfront to entrance of the President’s Office (Palacio de las Garzas). People can expect the delivery date to be around early 2012.
When the second phase to the Cinta Costera is complete, Casco Viejo will be easier to access for both pedestrians and commuters. Currently, all entrance roads into to Casco Viejo are intimidating and time consuming due to frequent traffic bottlenecks. However, with the new extension of the Coastal Belt, a direct highway will be created to Panama City and Panama’s Tocumen International Airport. Moreover, the new scenic route along The Bay of Panama, will eliminate trepidations of pedestrians.
The extension would decrease traffic congestion by by adding two new lines that would lead you directly to Casco Viejo. Currently, you must take smaller, less efficient artillery roads to enter the neighborhood. In addition, the second phase of the Cinta Costera would create a desperately needed 120 additional underground parking spaces and a brand new multipurpose pier that would include an outdoors theater, basketball fields and green areas.
Yet, not everyone is thrilled about the project. Many feared the design wouldn´t comply with the UNESCO World Heritage historical preservation regulations. A major modern highway leading up to the entrance of Panama City’s cherished old quarters, might comprise the historic integrity of the neighborhood. However, the government seemed to have created a plan that meets both the development and preservation needs of Casco Viejo.