A speedy solution may lessen the risk in the expansion project
Background: The Panama Canal Expansion is the largest project at the Canal since its original construction. The project aims to create a new lane of traffic along the Canal through the construction of a new set of locks, doubling the waterway’s capacity. The existing locks allow the passage of vessels that can carry up to 5,000 TEUs. After the expansion, the Post-Panamax vessels will be able to transit through the Canal, with up to 13,000 TEUs.
Work to expand the Panama Canal officially began in September 2007 with dry-excavation work for the creation of the Pacific Access Channel that will link the Third Set of Locks on the Pacific side to Culebra Cut. This project has four phases known as PAC1, PAC2, PAC3 and PAC4. The work calls for the excavation of some 50 million cubic meters of material.
The expansion project was expected to be completed by December, or in the early months of 2016. However, in a surprise discovery, a huge crack in one of the newly laid concrete locks was discovered. This could be a setback and delay the scheduled delivery date. The crack that has formed in the sill of the new Cocoli locks is causing water to seep through the concrete across the width of the chamber at the top of the sill.
The construction contractors Grupo Unidos por el Canal (GUPC), held a meeting on Saturday to find speedy solutions to the problem. The ACP authority has let it be known that they expect redressal to the problem at a rapid pace by the contractors and any defects found during the testing phase, must be corrected by the contractor.