One ordinary day, Norma Marcucci woke up early morning to go to a hospital in San Miguelito, for her normal pregnancy check up. As she tried to cross the street in front of the hospital, she was hit by a speeding car. Norma died instantly, however her son, Emmanuel Marcucci miraculously survived the accident. On this tragic day, Norma’s life and hopes came to a sudden and unexpected end, and her son’s life was influenced for the rest of his days.
It was not the first loss of life that occurred on this site. Via Ricardo J. Alfaro, also known as “Tumba Muerto”, is one of the most traffic congested highways in Panama City. A few years ago, there were no pedestrian bridges to assist the hospital’s patients reach their installations. Besides their illness, they also had to risk their lives every time they went to seek medical assistance. They were looking for hope and life at the hospital, but had to pay a high price for it—the price of loosing their lives in the process.
The Marcucci event was the last straw on the camel’s back. The San Miguelito community in anger, took the streets and demanded the immediate construction of a pedestrian bridge. No more lives would be lost. The government officials looked the other way. The protests got more and more violent, until the Minister of Public Works understood he had to do something to stop the riots. And he did.
On April 2, 2008, the San Miguel Arcángel Pedestrian Bridge was inaugurated. Even President Martín Torrijos was present, together with 6-year-old Emmanuel Marcucci, the former survivor of the sad traffic accident.
The walkway would benefit over 300,000 inhabitants of the surrounding area of the Special District of San Miguelito . It was built through the joint collaboration between the Ministry of Public Works, Cable & Wireless, the Trustees of the Hospital, the Community Board of Victoriano Lorenzo and the Municipal Engineering Department of San Miguelito.
A Cable & Wirelesss’ spokesman, the company responsible of the design of the bridge, explained that the structure had ramps and elevators at both ends to facilitate the movement of people with limited mobility, pregnant women and senior citizens. It also has a modern lighting system along the ramps and the superstructure, and a polycarbonate roof to avoid harmful ultra violet rays. It was the first walkway with these features in Central America and its approximate cost was $1.5 million.
I had to opportunity to walk across this passage of hope two days ago, while I was visiting a physiotherapist to help me with a bursitis issue. She worked in this hospital which is located about five blocks from my house. The structure is absolutely impressive.
Since I’m getting used to having my Birthday camera with me, I took several pictures while I was there. It was about 1:00 p.m. (-5 GMT). I liked the bridge so much, I decided to return that same evening to take some night shots. I’m glad I did. The pictures were very interesting, in search of a better word.
This is what I saw through the eyes of my camera. Here we go.
Photograph of the pedestrian bridge of the Miguel Arcángel Hospital located in the District of San Miguelito, Panama City, Panama. (Credit: Omar Upegui R.)
View of the special ramps for handicapped people who visit the hospital. The inclination of the ramps is only five degrees. (Credit: Omar Upegui R.)
View of the bridge right above Via Ricardo J. Alfaro. From here you can see the cars speeding below. (Credit: Omar Upegui R.)
This is an interesting view of part of the structure that looks like a sail of a boat. They are located at both ends of the bridge. (Credit: Omar Upegui R.)
Photograph of the bridge at night. Notice how the bridge turned yellow reflecting the yellow lights. (Credit: Omar Upegui R.)
Night view of the illuminated walkway with its nice yellow and blue lights. (Credit: Omar Upegui R.)
Another night shot of the bridge. Notice how the blue lights are reflected on the street. (Credit: Omar Upegui R.)
This is a photograph of the other side of the bridge in front of the hospital. Notice how the red lights of a car is stretched out forming two small red lines. (Credit: Omar Upegui R.)
Thanks to the courage and determination of the San Miguelito community, this beautiful pedestrian bridge was finally built saving many lives. Now, when people travel to the hospital, they know that their search for hope and life will not be interruped by a speeding car. This bridge is a passage of hope and life that was triggered by the tragic death of Norma Marcucci and her supporting community. Good Day.
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