In a progress report on the Panama Canal expansion project, the Panama Canal Authority said Tuesday that about 44.5 percent of the work had been completed as of Aug. 31.
Three of the four dry excavation projects had been completed, and the fourth project at the Pacific Access Channel was 67 percent complete.
The dredging of the Pacific and Atlantic entrances and of the Gatun Lake are advancing as scheduled with progress reaching 92 percent, 98 percent and 76 percent, respectively.
"The Panama Canal Expansion Program is moving forward at a good pace. The program has made positive contributions to Panama´s economy such as direct employment, investments, knowledge and technological transfer,” Panama Canal Administrator/CEO Jorge L. Quijano said.
The locks design and construction has reached 31 percent. The locks gates are being fabricated in Italy, and the first four gates should be shipped to Panama during the first quarter of 2013. The last four gates should be in Panama in the first quarter of 2014.
The valves are being fabricated in Korea, and delivery of valve components to Panama ongoing for some time. The contractor is expected to complete the main lock structure and begin pre-commissioning tests during the first quarter of 2014, with flooding of the locks and final commissioning planned to start in September 2014.
The new locks will not be open to commercial traffic until sometime in 2014, however, because of a six-month delay last year caused by the contractor’s inability to make the concrete mix for the locks required under its contract.