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Rail News: Intermodal

Panama Canal expansion nearly half complete, authority says


The Panama Canal Authority recently announced that its expansion program was estimated at 44.5 percent completion as of Aug. 31. The program began five years ago.

Three of four dry excavation projects had been finished and the fourth one was three-quarters done at August's end. In addition, dredging work at the Pacific and Atlantic entrances, and at Gatun Lake were 92 percent, 98 percent and 76 percent completed, respectively.

"The Panama Canal Expansion Program is moving forward at a good pace," said Panama Canal Administrator/Chief Executive Officer Jorge Quijano in a prepared statement. "The program has made positive contributions to Panama's economy, such as direct employment, investments, and knowledge and technological transfer."

The authority also announced that locks design and construction was 31 percent finished. The locks gates are being fabricated in Italy, and the first four gates should be shipped to Panama during first-quarter 2013, authority officials said, adding that the last four gates should arrive in Panama in first-quarter 2014.

A contractor is expected to complete the main lock structure and begin dry pre-commissioning tests in first-quarter 2014, they said. Locks flooding and final commissioning work is planned to start in September 2014.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 9/27/2012