The Panama Canal Authority said Thursday it has received bids from a number of global engineering and construction firms for the contract to dredge the Atlantic entrance to the canal.
The Atlantic entrance dredging project is part of the Canal’s $5.25 billion expansion program to ensure larger, wider ships can reach the new locks.
This includes lowering the canal bottom to 15.5 meters below mean low water, dredging approximately 14.8 million cubic meters and conducting the dry excavation of 800 thousand cubic meters.
The area to be dredged on the Atlantic entrance extends approximately 13.8 kilometers, and the scope of work also includes widening the existing Atlantic entrance channel from 198 meters to a minimum of 225 meters and the north approach channel to a minimum of 218 meters.
The canal authority released its request for proposals for the Atlantic entrance dredging on Feb. 27. Subsequently, several bidders attended site visits and a pre-tender meeting held from April through July, which were hosted by the canal authority and provided pertinent details on the project.
The canal authority said it will now conduct a careful review of the bids before awarding the contract in the coming weeks to the lowest bidder that complies with all the contract requirements.
The Atlantic entrance dredging is one of several key expansion projects that will help create an expanded Panama Canal. Other major projects are also pending. The largest and most important is the design and construction of the new set of locks. The canal authority also plans to dredge the Pacific sea entrance, and four dry excavation projects will ultimately form a new Pacific access channel to the new locks.
So far, plans remain on time and on budget. The canal authority expects the expansion program to be complete by 2014.
Contact Peter T. Leach at email@example.com.