Home » Breaking News, Maritime » Panama Canal completes first monolith for new locks

The Panama Canal expansion work has reached a new milestone with the completion of the first of 46 monoliths for the new locks being built to create another lane through the canal.

Located in the upper chamber’s east side on the Pacific end of the canal , the concrete-and-steel monolith measures 33.84 meters high, 7.5 meters wide, and 27 meters deep, the Panama Canal Authority (ACP) said in a statement.

The construction of the massive structure required 232 tons of reinforced steel and 2,605 cubic meters of concrete.

Enormous culverts that are part of the locks’ filling-and-emptying system will run along the lock walls that are made up of these monoliths. The main culvert is 8.3 meters wide by 6.5 meters high, big enough to enable the simultaneous passage of two railroads. The lock walls will also contain the auxiliary culverts measuring 6.5 meters wide by 6.5 meters high.

The canal expansion project involves installing a new set of locks to build another lane that is seen to double the canal’s tonnage capacity and allow much longer and wider ships to go through the waterway.

“This new third lane will be a game changer in world maritime commerce,” said Alberto Alemán Zubieta, CEO and administrator of ACP, the government-run agency managing, operating, and maintaining the canal.

The new locks are scheduled to be finished in 2014 and begin commercial operations the year after.

Photo: ACP

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