The government of Panama gave a US$1.4 billion contract to build a bridge over the Panama Canal to Panama Cuarto Puente, a Chinese consortium.
Panama Cuarto Puente consortium or so-called Panama Fourth Bridge Consortium, composed of China Communications Construction Company (CCCC) and its unit China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC), will design and build a bridge over the Panama Canal.
According to a report in Reuters, the 6.5-km (4-mile) bridge will have six car lanes and a two-way metro line. The Chinese companies initially won the contract in June but the award was postponed after rival bidders appealed the decision.
Now that the consortium outbid companies from Spain, Italy, South Korea and China, the construction is estimated to begin this year and will take three years.
While delivering the order to proceed, Panamanian President Juan Carlos Varela said: "These companies have just completed a bridge of more than 55 kilometers between Hong Kong, Macao and Zhuhai, the longest bridge in the world, so I have full confidence that they will do a first world work."
AP said that it will be one of the largest construction projects in Panamanian history.
Panama and China opened free trade talks earlier this month with the aim of crafting an agreement that could turn the Central American country into a hub for Chinese goods across Latin America.
Apart from the bridge, Chinese companies have been awarded multi-million dollar contracts, such as a convention center and a cruise terminal.