Formally proposed in 2006, the Panama Canal expansion was just completed. The massive project, also called the Third Set of Locks Project, was an undertaking meant to double the capacity of the Panama Canal, and it did just that. Two new sets of locks were constructed, one on the Pacific side and one on the Atlantic, with new canals being dug to connect them. Growing concerns of larger ships being able to make passage through the previous canal pushed the project forwards, which also involved the deepening of the original canals. While the project was a massive logistical and civil engineering undertaking, some of its scope is captured in the following impressive timelapse.
Part of the push for the project also included hopes that a lock and channel system of the new proposed scale could transform Panama into a first world country. Formally beginning in 2007, construction began and faced difficulties along its 9-year stretch. The project was forecasted at the start to be completed in 2014, but like most major civil engineering projects, it was delayed until May 2016. A multitude of reasons played into this delay, from worker strikes to cost debates.
This new passage is expected to grow transport rates through the Panama canal by 3% each year by 2025. The new locks are each 427 meters long by 55 meters wide and 18.3 meters deep. Locks of this size allow for increased capacity of the canal, along with increased efficiency in the use of rolling locks.
[Image Source: Wikimedia]
As a whole, the project cost US$5.25 billion, a price justified by the suspected economic impact on Panama from the increased travel. The timelapse above gives a deeper look into the almost 9-year long project that has the possibility of reshaping the modern shipping industry.
Written by Trevor English