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Two tunnel boring machines were delivered to President Martinelli 

August 23, 2011

Two tunnel boring machines (TBMs) for the construction of the Panama Subway (Panama Metro Line 1) were delivered to President Ricardo Martinelli on Tuesday August 23 in the city of Schwanau in Germany. The arrival of these in Panama is scheduled for October and November this year.

The TBMs were built by German company Herrenknecht AG. These machines have name, one called Martha and the other Carolina. They have a technology Earth Pressure Balance (EPB) for a "breakthrough for sure." These TBMs made while digging the tunnel will be constructed with precast concrete pieces. The TBMs are 9.77 meters outside diameter between the two dug a tunnel about 7 kilometers. This stretch is between the trenches of Albrook, through stations Plaza 5 de Mayo, Hospital Santo Tomás, Iglesia del Carmen, Via Argentina and Via Fernandez de Cordoba, reaching Transístmica Trench.

About the number of stations, the President Martinelli announced that will be included  Curundú and Marañón stations, which are not in the current construction contract.

For its part, Metro Executive Secretary, Robert Roy, explained that the TBMs cost between 30 and 40 million of dollars. The two machines include all complementary equipment such as locomotives, conveyor belts, in addition to rails, spare parts, maintenance, wiring, cutting tools, among others. It also includes transportation to Panama and assembly.

After inspection of the machines, they will be dismantled, packed and transported to Panama by sea. Upon arrival to the country, will be advised of the technical staff of the German company to operate the TBMs.

During the ceremony, held in one of the hangars of the German factory, the President declared that "we will transform the Panama transport system, which was a chaos, in a safe and reliable for all Panamanians" . Martinelli acknowledged prestige available to the German company that is the only provider in the world the most modern TBMs and is the market leader and technology of mechanized tunneling.

The contract for the construction of Panama Metro Line 1 was awarded on October 27 to Line 1 Consortium, composed by Spanish company Fomento de Construcciones y Contratas (FCC) and the Brazilian Norberto Odebrecht. The consortium began work in about January of this year. Under the contract, the construction of the Metro Line 1 will be completed in December 2013.

Panama Metro Line 1 will travel a distance of Panama 14 km from the Andes, San Miguelito District (on the outskirts of Panama City) to Albrook (where the Grand National Transport Terminal) in approximately 23 minutes. The Metro seeks to speed vehicular movement in the country in addition to providing better service to the city, benefiting around one million 300 thousand people.

Martinelli, who attended a presentation of the work of the TBMs and toured the German company Herrenknecht AG also announced that an assembly of tunnel boring machines will be installed in Panama to serve Latin America, which will represent a significant generation of jobs the country. The president of the German factory, Martin Herrenknecht, said Panama is an important logistics platform and therefore decided to settle in the country because it has the best connections to Latin America.

The president also said that Martinelli will tendered the second Metro line will come to December 24.




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