Monday, February 15, 2016

Panama Canal Moves Closer to Completion of Expansion

Leaky Lock Scare Said to be a Thing of the Past
Shipping News Feature
PANAMA – The Panama Canal Authority (PCA) has successfully completed testing on the reinforcements of a section of the third set of locks where cracks had been discovered in August, last year. Grupo Unidos por el Canal (GUPC), the consortium responsible for the design and construction of the expansion project, gradually raised the water behind the lock gate to the level in which the seepage was first detected in sill number 3 of the Cocolí locks, following months of repair work which consisted of inserting steel rods into the concrete sills.

In June of last year the filling of the new locks began, marking the start of a planned and methodical phase of operational testing of the Locks. This stage of testing is meant to timely detect and correct any deficiencies in the project.

As part of this testing, some water seepage was detected in the new Pacific Locks in a section that separates the middle chamber and lower chamber, as they were being stressed tested through exposure to level differentials much higher than those required for normal operations, but that may occur during dry-chamber maintenance works in the future.

Following the completion of this work, GUPC will proceed to test the electromechanical components necessary for the Expanded Canal to operate. Less than four percent remains to complete the overall project which will be inaugurated later this year, now estimated to be in June.