The first of the new lock gates for the expanded Panama Canal are being installed approximately one year ahead of the Third Set of Locks’ anticipated opening and about 7 years after the project began.
The Panama Canal Authority announced Monday that the installation of the new gates began on Monday on the Atlantic side of the waterway. The gate being installed is located in “lock head two” of the new locks and is expected to be completed in the next couple of days. The steel gates are being moved into place using self-propelled motorized wheel transporters (SPMTs) with more than 400 wheels each.
The gate currently being installed measures 10 meters wide by 30.19 meters in height and weighs 3,285 tons.
In total, the new locks will have 16 rolling gates, eight in the Pacific side and eight in the Atlantic side. Operation of the Third Set of Locks is expected to begin in January 2016, at least as according to the current timeline.
Photos courtesy Panama Canal Authority