After losing tenders to build the extension of line 1 of the Panama Metro to the Villa Zaíta sector and the expansion of the Concepción-Volcán highway, in the province of Chiriquí, combined projects exceeded 280 million dollars, the Constructora Norberto Odebrecht (CNO) prepares to dispute two new state contracts.
It involves the rehabilitation of the Gatún-Miguel de la Borda highway, on the Costa Abajo of the province of Colón and the rehabilitation and expansion of the highway between the La Chorrera highway and the port of Vacamonte.
The Ministry of Public Works (MOP) has estimated that jobs in the province of Colon would cost $ 40.9 million, while improvements in West Panama are around $ 48.2 million, leaving a total of $ 89.1 million and 72.7 kilometers of roads
Representatives of the Brazilian company, who confesses to the payment of bribes in Panama between 2009 and 2014 to obtain contracts with the State, participated in the meetings that the MOP held in October to explain the details of the specifications that will be used in the two tenders .
Currently, CNO executes two contracts in force with the State.
The first is with the MOP and covers the construction and rehabilitation of rural roads in the province of Veraguas, Chiriquí and the Ngäbe Buglé region, for 22.2 million dollars.
In October, the Comptroller General endorsed an addendum to this contract where the MOP and the company agreed to a reduction of $ 247,782 since the item allocated for associated costs was not fully utilized.
In 2017 Odebrecht was fined $ 99,969 for failing to comply with the delivery date of the work.
However, to finish the work, the company received a time extension of 108 days.
CNO is currently executing the extension of Metro line 2 to the Tocumen International Airport, in a contract for 102 million dollars.
These works are carried out by the Brazilian company along with the Spanish company FCC, which was recently fined in Spain with more than 80 million dollars for paying bribes in Panama.
The two tenders that the MOP maintains in force have generated a lot of interest among the construction companies in the country, attracting more than 50 firms, some of them, strong competitors of the Brazilian company that in the past have surpassed it as the Costa Rican MECO, the Panamanian Constructroa Urbana SA, the Spanish OHL and Mota Engil of Portugal, among others.
These last two form the Panama Norte Line Consortium that was left with the $ 203 million contract for the extension of line 1 to Villa Zaíta.
Another of the companies that has shown interest in the two contracts that the MOP tenders are Conansa, Cemosa, Transeq. Bagatrac SA appears on the list of interested parties, which is part of the Public Prosecutor’s investigations in the Blue Apple case, where MOP contractors paid bribes between 2009 and 2014 to officials for speeding up procedures and awarding contracts with the State.
Bagatrac SA surpassed CNO last September in the dispute over the contract for the expansion of the Concepción-Volcán highway in the province of Chiriquí, which will cost 84.2 million dollars.
Odebrecht goes for 72 kilometers
In recent days the MOP has introduced changes and made clarifications through addenda to the projects in Colón and Panama Oeste.
The institution in charge of Minister Rafael Sabonge set for December 3 the delivery of proposals for the project in Colón, and 9 days later the public ceremony for the works in Vacamonte must be held.
In the case of the rehabilitation of the 67.7 kilometers between Gatun and Miguel de la Borda, which begins where the third bridge over the Panama Canal ends, the contract went from 33.4 million dollars to 40.9 million dollars.
Among the additional works that were included in the specifications is the construction of retaining walls, pedestrian areas, vehicular bridges and underground drainage. The works that the company selects in the coastal areas to mitigate future damage caused by the waves, but taking care of the reefs that are in place, were also specified.
Another of the changes introduced by the MOP is that interested companies have 10 years of experience in similar projects, and not 8 as established in the original specifications.
As for the works in Panama Oeste, in addition to the rehabilitation of the existing lanes, two more will be built from the highway to Vacamonte.
For this tender, the MOP also increased the years of experience of the interested companies, requesting that the selected contractor have 15 years in similar works, and not 10, as it appeared in the document acquired by those initially interested.
The institution also clarified that a bicycle path will be built from the interconnecting bridge with the La Chorrera motorway to the Vacamonte sector, as well as wide sidewalks, lighting throughout the project, and the cable underground in some sectors.
In the statement of objections, the MOP warns interested companies that they must submit an arborization plan that must include native and weather-resistant species in the area, but clarifies that the use of palms will not be taken as part of this plan.
In addition, the amounts for related jobs, easement relocation and compensation payments were increased.
The line for signaling along the 5 kilometers, which will be intervened, the amount allocated was 67 thousand 500 dollars, 4 thousand 500 dollars more; while for the acquisition of easement an amount of 1.8 million dollars was established, and not 366 thousand dollars, as the MOP had calculated.
For years this road collapsed due to the housing growth that has registered this sector of the province of Panama Oeste.
One of the core points of the contract is the construction of vehicle bridges. The contractor must build 3 bridges along the route, one of them on the highway that will have 6 lanes, pedestrian sidewalks and cycle paths.
Likewise, the construction of pedestrian bridges and bus stops is contemplated, while in the most populated areas guardrails for pedestrians will be installed.