Panama Canal expansion now 84% complete as gate installation begins

The Panama Canal expansion program is gathering pace with the arrival of the massive new lock gates. Photo courtesy ACP
The Panama Canal expansion program is gathering pace with the arrival of the massive new lock gates. Photo courtesy ACP

The last gate to arrive has now completed the transfer of the eight gates to the Pacific construction side as the Panama Canal expansion gathers momentum. The transits began on October 22 to move all eight gates through the waterway aboard a barge from the Atlantic temporary dock to the Pacific, assisted by Panama Canal tugs.

Once finished, the Panama Canal expansion program will have added new locks that in total have 16 rolling gates, eight in the Pacific and eight in the Atlantic. Since August 2013, the gates have been arriving in staggered shipments from Italy on a Post-Panamax vessel to a temporary dock in the Atlantic side. The last shipment arrived in November 2014.

The installation of the gates for the new locks of the Panama Canal expansion program have now successfully begun on the Atlantic side of the waterway.

“This is a very important milestone for the Panama Canal expansion program,” said Panama Canal Administrator Jorge L. Quijano. “We see how the new locks are rapidly taking shape as we move towards the successful completion of the project.”

The gate will be located in lock head two in the new locks on the Atlantic side. The installation of the gate began early in the morning and is expected to be completed in the next couple of days. The steel gates are moved using self-propelled motorized wheel transporters (SPMTs) with more than 400 wheels each.

The gate currently being installed is 10 meters wide, 30.19 in height and weighs 3,285 tons. In total, the new locks will have 16 rolling gates, eight in the Pacific and eight in the Atlantic.

Overall, the Panama Canal expansion program is 84 percent complete.

About the Panama Canal Authority (ACP)
The ACP is the autonomous agency of the Government of Panama in charge of managing, operating and maintaining the Panama Canal. The operation of the ACP is based on its organic law and the regulations approved by its Board of Directors. For more information, please refer to the ACP’s website or follow on Twitter @thepanamacanal.

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