An illustration explaining key facts about lock gates
By linking the Pacific and Atlantic oceans, the Panama Canal revolutionized global shipping when it opened nearly a century ago. However, the canal's capabilities are quickly being outpaced by the ever-growing ships that pass through it. In order to accommodate the next generation of over-sized vessels, the Panama Canal is receiving its most ambitious upgrade in 93 years - a third channel hemmed in by these gargantuan flood gates.
Panama Canal hits milestone - Final set of lock gates installed in April, 2015
View of a gate before installation
A major milestone was reached on the Panama Canal expansion project on April 28, as the eighth and fi nal lock gate was installed on the Pacifi c side of the route. Th ere are another eight lock gates already installed on the Atlantic side, for a total of 16. The final gate is one of the heaviest. It weighs 4,232 tonnes and measures 57.6 m wide by 10 m long by 33 m high. Manufactured in Italy, the new gates arrived in Panama in four staggered shipments starting in August 2013.

Panama Canal administrator Jorge L Quijano said, “Today’s installation is a key milestone in the expansion programme and another important step forward for the Canal,” The Panama Canal Authority (ACP) reports that expansion work is now 88% complete. It added that several major project components, including all excavation and dredging work have been completed.

In other news, ACP is to appeal against the December adjudication board ruling that it has to pay US$ 234 million to consortium Grupo Unidos por el Canal, (GUPC) and extend its contract by six months. The appeal will go before an arbitration hearing in Miami, US.

The dispute relates to poor quality basalt, which was to be used for aggregates on the project as well as a delay on ACP’s part in approving the concrete mix to be used on the project. GUPC said the rock was not of the same quality as indicated in the bidding documents issued by ACP.
Celebrations on installation of final set of lock gates at Panama canal
Celebrations on installation of final set of lock gates
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