Panama Canal expansion on track with testing of new lock gates

San Francisco: Tests on the expanded Panama Canal’s all-important new lock gates are proceeding on schedule with a completion time some three months hence.

The first electromechanical testing of the canal’s long-awaited expansion was successfully completed with the opening and closing of one of the floodgates on the Atlantic side of the so-called “world’s biggest short cut”.

During the testing session, operations of the mechanical and electrical systems were also tested along with the floodgate’s velocity and position sensors. The rest of the floodgates will be tested soon with the filling and testing of the new Pacific locks expected to take around 90 days to complete.

Each lock complex – one at each end of the canal – includes three chambers and eight rolling gates. The 16 rolling gates vary in height depending on their location within the lock, but each measures 57.6 metres long by 8 to 10 metres wide.

This expansion, one of the most important engineering feats in modern history, began in 2007 with an investment of $5.25 billion and is expected to be ready by the beginning of 2016.

About six percent of world trade moves across the canal.


Donal Scully

With 28 years experience writing and editing for newspapers in the UK and Hong Kong, Donal is now based in California from where he covers the Americas for Splash as well as ensuring the site is loaded through the Western Hemisphere timezone.
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