Canal expansion reaches 91% complete



After eight years of work, the expansion program of the Panama Canal was an advance of 91.3% until 30 June, according to the latest quarterly report by the Panama Canal Authority (ACP).

The expansion program started to run in 2007 after project approval by referendum of October 22, 2006, where did get 76.8%.

During the quarter, corresponding to April, May and June 2015, the monitoring team of the ACP continued to review the designs submitted for the buildings, rolling gates, filling and emptying system of the locks and water saving basins indicates the document.

For this same period, the contract for the design and construction of the third set of locks to be awarded in 2009 Grupo Unidos por el Canal (GUPC) for $ 3000 was 118 million is 90%.

The contractor working on the construction of buildings that are part of the operating structures of the new locks. The work focuses on the installation of electrical and mechanical components, the report said.

Electromechanical activities reached an overall advance of 97%, with the completed elements of the recessed first and second phase installation, the drive mechanisms, the top cars, the beams supporting the pulleys and lower carriages, according to the report GUPC.

In this period he continued to work for the installation of gates and their accessories, and repair painting of the remaining gates.

Of the 158 valves that carry the two locks, they were placed 76 and these have found it leakproof to 55, which were adopted.

The valves correspond to parts of the new locks through which the water flow is monitored and from the lock chambers.

On June 11, filling the new locks on the Atlantic, which gave way to the operational testing and quality control of the work began.

Filling in this first stage lasted five days up to 2.4 meters below sea level, for testing in the gates seven and eight of niche number four.

The process is repeated with the rest of the gates in their respective niches to 27 meters for the Gatun Lake. The House received per hour, about 50 thousand cubic meters of water in five pipes 0.90 meters in diameter. It is expected that all tests and inspections completed in about four months.

The June 23, 2015 was tested “successfully” the opening and closing of the gate number eight of the new Gatun Locks, Colon province.

“The first operational evidence integrating mechanical and electrical systems were performed, as well as position and speed sensors,” says the report. Movement tests verify the position data, weight and buoyancy of the gate.

Ducts, sewers and chambers inspected. According to the schedule of the contractor, the ACP expects the new locks will begin testing later this year or early next, to operate commercially in April 2016.


Ernesto Chong de León, Ernesto Emilio Chong Coronado