The Bridge of the Americas is one of the bridges that cross the Panama Canal. It is located in the Pacific entrance and it connects Balboa, in the northeast, and Arraijan, in the southwest. Inaugurated on October 12, 1962, shares the same location that the ferry had before the bridge was built.
United States’ authorities tried to name Bridge of the Americas the Thatcher Ferry Bridge but Panama’s Legislative Assembly did not agree on that so they ended up naming it The Bridge of the Americas, because it wasn’t just a road that connected Panama City with the countryside, but a road that connected North and Central America with South America, just divided by the Panama Canal.
The Bridge of the Americas has a cantilever design where the suspended span is a tied arch. The bridge has a total length of 1,654 m (5,425 ft) in 14 spans, abutment to abutment. The main span measures 344 m (1,128 ft) and the tied arch (the center part of the main span) is 259 m (850 ft). The highest point of the bridge is 117 m (384 ft) above mean sea level; the clearance under the main span is 61.3 m (201 ft) at high tide. Ships must cross under this bridge when traversing the canal, and are subject to this height restriction. (The Centennial Bridge is also a fixed obstacle, but its clearance is much higher: 80.0 m (262 ft)). It was built between 1959 and 1962 by the United States at a cost of 20 million U.S. dollars.
Before the construction of The Centennial Bridge on 2004, The Bridge of the Americas was the only road that connected North and South America.