Pacific Side of Panama Canal Flooded

 23 Jun 2015 09.16am

The Atlantic and Pacific Oceans are coming closer together thanks to the new Panama Canal which has flooded part of the new set of locks on the Pacific side shortly after the same operation was conducted successfully on the Atlantic side.

The project, known as the Third Lock Expansion, is rushing towards a 2016 completion.

Read a PTI Technical Paper on the Third Lock Expansion

The international consortium that is building the canal, Salini Impregilo, will begin a series of ‘stress tests’ on the giant lock gates within weeks.

Built in Italy, the sliding gates were installed in the locks at the end of March, 2015. The tests, which will focus on the opening and closing of the sliding gates, will take around 6 months.

As the flooding of the Pacific side surges forth, an initial boat tour by Salini Impregilo and other members of the consortium in charge of the construction entered part of the canal (see images below).

Like a hydraulic lift, the locks of the canal will raise boats to the level of Gatun Lake, which sits more than 27 metres higher than the level of either ocean.

Once opened, post-Panamax ships with a capacity of up to 14,000 containers – three times more than the ships that use the existing canal – will be able to traverse the canal in a move that could have profound effects on trade lanes and ports in the Americas.

The gates finally touch water (Source: Salini Impregilo)

Source: Salini Impregilo

Fact File: Salini Impregilo is a global leading player in the construction of major infrastructures, specialising in hydro and dams, where the group is a world leader. It also constructs railways, metro systems, roads and motorways. The group has been active for more than 100 years and today it operates in more than 50 countries, across five continents, with 34,400 employees. At the end of 2014 its turnover was around US$5 billion.

For more information on the Panama Canal, click here

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