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Panama Canal Upgrade Reaches Half Way Point

by Leroy Baker, Tax-News.com, New York

29 January 2013


The Panama Canal Authority has announced that it has reached a major milestone in the expansion of the facility having carried out over half of the envisaged improvements.

"The program continues to progress and reach milestones while we focus the next phases on building the locks," said Panama Canal Administrator Jorge L. Quijano. "We estimate based on the progress that we can begin commercial transits mid-2015," he said.

Dredging of the navigational channels has been completed. This included both Canal entrances, on the Pacific and Atlantic sides, as well as the Gaillard Cut. The remaining dredging work to be done in Gatun Lake is expected to be completed this year.

Meanwhile, the excavation of the Pacific lock access channel, involving the removal of more than 50 million cubic meters of materials along a 6.1km span, is 70% complete. This project involves four phases, three of which have been completed with the fourth said to be more than two-thirds complete.

Construction of the new locks is 37% complete. The new lock complexes on the Pacific and Atlantic sides will feature three chambers, three water-saving basins per chamber, a lateral filling and emptying system and rolling gates.

Once completed, the Panama Canal expansion, which is the largest project in its history, will double the waterway's capacity and allow for the passage of longer, wider vessels.

TAGS: Construction | marine | Panama

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