The United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS)

Connecting countries and communities

The new Binational Bridge connecting Costa Rica and Panama will help strengthen economic and commercial development in two border towns on the Sixaola River.

Every year, more than 150,000 people cross the Sixaola River, which marks the border between Costa Rica and Panama. Previously, the only way across the river for the communities of Sixaola, Costa Rica and Guabito, Panama was a 100-year-old former railway bridge.

The new Binational Bridge – implemented by UNOPS with $10 million in funding from the Mexican Agency for International Development Cooperation and $7.5 million each from the governments of Costa Rica and Panama – will help improve transportation links in the area.

“Thanks to the international cooperation of Mexico, Panama and Costa Rica, starting today, this new bridge will connect thousands of people who annually cross the Sixaola between Panama and Costa Rica," said Erika Mouynes, Panama's Minister of Foreign Affairs.

The Binational Bridge contributes to sustainable development and improving the quality of life of people living in this border area, who face socio-economic challenges.

Alejandro Rossi - UNOPS Director in Costa Rica

The new bridge will help facilitate the transportation of goods between Costa Rica and Panama, promoting commerce and local development in Sixaola and Guabito, which have about 15,000 residents between them.

"We are working diligently to realize an initiative that brings well-being and progress, and that also strengthens our ties of friendship with our sister nation, Panama," said Ambassador Rodolfo Solano, Costa Rica's Minister of Foreign Affairs about the project.

In addition, the construction of the new bridge created jobs for workers on both sides of the border while the money earned from selling material from the old railway bridge was used to renovate Sixaola's municipal market. 

The bridge is also important for development in not only Costa Rica and Panama, but the wider region. 

“Mexico confirms its commitment to look to the South to generate prosperity in the Central American region. By geography, shared culture and common history, it is a space that, day-by-day, is strengthened and transformed for the benefit of thousands of Costa Ricans and Panamanians and, naturally, Mesoamericans,” said Maximiliano Reyes Zúñiga, Undersecretary for Latin America and the Caribbean for Mexico's Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

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