San Francisco: The Panama Canal passed another milestone towards becoming supersized when engineers started flooding some of its new enlarged locks on Thursday, as previewed in Splash on Tuesday.
Ten valves were opened to allow the flow of water into the locks as a test.
A crowd of construction workers applauded the first gush of water from an artificial lake into some of the giant locks that are a key part of the canal’s multibillion-dollar expansion.
If all goes to plan, within a year the new, bigger version of the Canal could be operational, but a lot more tests have to be done first.
For 100 years the Canal had been recognized as the “world’s biggest short cut”, allowing shipping to hop between the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans. But the need for this new enlargement has come about because of the trend towards gigantic tankers and carriers.
The expansion began in 2006 and will allow the canal to handle vessels capable of carrying 2.5 times the number of containers held by ships currently using the canal.