A crack has formed in the concrete of one of the new locks of the expanded Panama Canal that could potentially threaten the delivery of the project as scheduled.
The crack formed in what is known as the sill of the new Cocoli Locks on the Panama Canal’s Pacific side. Video shows water seeping through the concrete across the width of the chamber near the top of the sill, just below one of the giant rolling gates that forms the barrier between lock chambers.
Teams from contractor Grupo Unidos por el Canal (GUPC) and the Panama Canal Authority (ACP) met Saturday to discuss the scope of the problem and solutions.
The ACP has said that they will not accept anything less than perfect for the project, as it was agreed in the contract. “The ACP will not accept the work of (the expanded canal) flawed,” the ACP tweeted Friday after learning of the issues. “The contractor must repair to the satisfaction imperfections and defects detected in the testing period we are conducting,” the ACP said in another tweet.
El contratista debe reparar a satisfacción imperfecciones y defectos que se detecten en el período de pruebas que estamos llevando a cabo — Canal de Panamá (@canaldepanama) August 21, 2015
GUPC addressed the issue via Twitter on Friday after photos of the crack began circulating online.
Neither the ACP or GUPC have said what the problem could mean for the delivery of the project currently scheduled for April 2016.
GUPC began filling the Cocoli lock with water in June and the barrier separating the new lock from the water of the Pacific Ocean was just removed this last week.
The Panama Canal expansion involves the construction of a ‘Third Set of Locks’ that will allow larger ships to transit. The project, costing more than $5 billion, now stands at more than 90% complete.
The new Pacific and Atlantic lock complexes have a combined 16 rolling gates, 8 on each side.
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