The Costa Rica News (TCRN) – The European consortium that is building the locks for the Panama Canal expansion is about to undertake the installation of the first gate in the coming days, which concludes the transfer of components through the waterway.
Grupo Unidos por el Canal, heading the Spanish firm Sacyr and Italy’s Impregilo, will install the first of the eight gates for the new set of locks. On Wednesday, a barge moved from the Atlantic with the last of the gates to be installed on the Pacific side.
The builders estimate that by mid-2015, 16 gates will be installed in their respective chambers, eight in the Atlantic and eight in the Pacific, after which the floods and subsequent test runs of the new locks will be conducted. The lock is primarily a hydraulic water leveler that allows ships to navigate the channels.
With a delay of more than a year, Grupo Unidos por el Canal and waterway authorities expect the expansion, which had a cost of 5.25 billion dollars, will be ready in late 2015 and operational in the first quarter of 2016. The project aims to double the operational capacity and facilitate the passage of larger vessels for the centennial oceanic trench. (EFE)