Bajo Frío Dam, Panama

The hydrological project of Panama

The site of the works can be found in the province of Chiriqui. This is close to the border with Costa Rica, between the towns of Breñón and Santa Cruz, in the Renacimiento district, and the town of Gómez, in the Bugaba district of Panama.

The works carried out by FCC consist of building a gravity and loose material dam that is 56 m high and 405 m long. The first 240 m consist of blocks of conventional concrete and roller-compacted concrete, and the remaining 165 m on the left bank of the dam consist of a loose material with a clay core.

The dam has two spillways, one on a 90 m long free nappe with a drainage capacity of 2,100 m3/s, and the other with two 6 x 5 m chutes and an evacuation capacity of 700 m3/s. 

The project includes two machinery houses: La Potra, which will house three main turbogenerator units with a total power of 28 MW plus a 2.10 MW auxiliary unit; and Salsipuedes, which will have three turbogenerator units with a total power of 28 MW.

The project also includes conditioning the access roads to the dam, a bridge over the Chiriquí River, a 2.1 km long water transmission channel, the loading chamber and the water intake for the Salsipuedes machinery house, which is located at the end of the water transmission channel, and a discharge channel that is approximately 110 m long through which the water flows back into the Chiriquí Viejo River.

The aim of the hydrological project is to benefit the waterfall of the Chiriquí Viejo River, the source of which lies close to the Barú volcano at around 3,500 high. 

Remarkable aspects

  • The works form part of the hydrological project in Panama.
  • The project consists of building a mixed gravity- loose material dam that is 56 m high and 405 m long.
  • The dam will produce an estimated 58 MW.

Client: Fountain Intertrade Corp. (private)

Start date: 2011

End date: February 2016