The largest infrastructure project since the waterway’s original construction, the Panama Canal Expansion Program will create a new lane of traffic along the Canal through the construction of a new set of locks, doubling the waterway’s capacity.
To date, the overall program is 83 percent complete, with several major components, such as its dry excavation and dredging projects, already finished. In addition, 94 percent of the works required to be able to operate the new water level of Gatun Lake have been completed.
Currently, excavations of the Pacific Access Channel (PAC) are 82.2 percent complete. The PAC is a 6.7-kilometer-long channel designed to provide navigation access to and from the new Pacific locks to the existing Culebra Cut section, the narrowest stretch of the Panama Canal. Three of the four PAC phases needed for its execution are now complete.
The fourth and final phase (PAC-4) registered an important milestone this month with completion of the grout curtain for the Borinquen 1E Dam. The construction of the 2.3-kilometer-long, is of particular importance to the project because, after Expansion is completed, the Canal will have two locks in the Pacific side separated by Miraflores Lake.
With a water level difference of nine meters between the new channel and Miraflores Lake, Expansion’s new lane will allow ships to bypass the lake altogether by going directly from Culebra Cut to the new locks.
Dredging Today Staff