Route 1X

Penonome-Panama Express Bypass route 1X for Pan-American Highway

Information about route

Of the three expressways around Panama’s provincial capitals, the Penonome Shortcut offers the greatest benefit-cost ratio as its 8 kilometers traverses mostly open land, minimizing disruption, while saving nearly 6.5 kilometers of travel on the existing Interamericana Route 1 where time is lost due to intersections at grade.  Route 1 veers north by 3+ kilometers through central Penonome and then must return that same distance south, whereas the Route 1X “Shortcut” continues the basic east-west alignment of Panama’s principal highway running the length of the isthmus.

There is sufficient traffic demand to enable this project to defray its construction and maintenance costs entirely from tolls.  A consortium comprised of local real estate and construction interests needs to be formed to plot the exact alignment of the expressway, and then identify adjacent parcels suitable for future development newly-enabled by the transportation infrastructure.  These should be acquired even before eminent domain is authorized for the actual right-of-way, so as to capture the appreciation in land values.   Harnessing these profits for public benefit will, added to toll revenues, speed repayment of bonds sold for initial financing of construction.

These three projects complement rather than compete with the proposed hybrid freight+passenger semi-high-speed railway proposed to run west from Panama City through Cocle, Veraguas, and Chiriqui to David, and ultimately Costa Rica.  Rail accommodates through passengers who would otherwise be driving, adding to congestion on the roads and wasting fuel.  Shifting goods movement from trucks to trains relieves stress on the highway and reduces delays caused by slow-moving trucks.  The expressways remove through vehicular traffic from city centers making them more amenable to lucrative redevelopment around the train stations.

Environmental and community impacts need to be evaluated and mitigated early in the planning process.  Assuming that local authorities welcome this proposal to speed through traffic out of central Penonome and for industrial development along the new corridor south of the city, their quick approval should, in turn, speed initial financing to pay for the studies, adjustments to the route if needed, mitigation of ecological impacts, and relocation of the few residents displaced by property acquisition.

Penonome Regional

Penonome Vicinity

Penonome Large SE

Penonome Large SW

Penonome Corridor East Interchange

Penonome Corridor East Central

Penonome Corridor West Central

Penonome Corridor West Interchange

Penonome Building Demolition East interchange