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Panama Canal Expansion In Final Stages

by Mike Godfrey,, Washington

07 July 2009

Moving ahead with its expansion program, the Panama Canal Authority (ACP) has announced that it will soon solicit bids for the fourth and last dry excavation project. The project will be the final phase in creating a critical access channel that will link the new Pacific locks with the Canal's existing Gaillard Cut (the narrowest stretch of the Panama Canal).

As the second most significant contract of the Expansion Program, the scope of work will include the excavation, removal and disposal of approximately 27 million cubic meters of non-classified material. Moreover, the solicitation will call for the installation of an approximately 1.8-kilometer long backfilled cellular cofferdam water barrier and the construction of a 2.8-kilometer long impervious clay core-rock fill dam.

Although the widening of the canal is nearing its final stages, the final stage of the project will include:

  • constructing access roads;
  • managing disposal site areas
  • installing a dewateringsystem to remove surface and underground water
  • implementing and managing environmental controls
  • clearing unexploded ordnances (UXOs) - remnants from former U.S. military training
  • facilities in the Canal area, and
  • other miscellaneous tasks.

"The release of the fourth and final dry excavation RFP is, without a doubt, a key milestone in this program. The Canal expansion continues to move on track, on budget and with steady progress," said ACP Executive Vice President of Engineering and Program Management Jorge L. Quijano. "The Expansion Program underscores the ACP's commitment to long-term growth and investment for our customers, and we look forward to receiving interest from the best firms for this job."

Expansion will build a new lane of traffic along the Panama Canal through the construction of a new set of locks that will double capacity and allow more traffic and longer, wider ships.

TAGS: environment | investment | interest | training | budget | construction | Panama

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