Close-Up Look at Panama Canal Crack

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A new photo gives a close-up view of the crack that threatens the completion of the project to expand the Panama Canal. 

As gCaptain reported over the weekend, the crack and subsequent leaks appeared in the concrete of one of the interior chambers of the new Cocoli Locks on the Pacific side of the waterway during testing. 

The Panama Canal Authority (ACP) maintains that the crack is not expected to impact the delivery of the expansion project in April 2016 as planned, but still no details have been revealed about the scope of repairs needed to fix the issue, leaving many questions still unanswered.

The ACP has said that any imperfections or defects in the project will not be accepted as per quality requirements laid out in its contract with main contractor GUPC, which is responsible for the delivery and performance of the new locks.

The crack appeared during the filling and test stage of the new locks on the Pacific side that began June.

GUPC addressed the problem publicly last Friday after photos of the crack began circulating online.

According to the ACP, the crack appeared in the “step”, or sill, of lockhead 3 (LH3), dividing the middle chamber from the lower chamber of the new Cocoli Lock complex.

The Panama Canal expansion project, costing more than $5 billion, involves the construction of a ‘Third Set of Locks’ that will create a new lane of traffic and allow larger ships to transit the famous waterway, effectively doubling its capacity.

According to the project’s website, the design and construction of the Third Set of Locks, the main component of the project, is now at 91% complete. 

GUPC is a consortium made up of Sacyr Vallehermoso of Spain as its head, with Impregilo of Italy, Jan De Nul of Belgium and Constructura Urbana, SA (CUSA) of Panama.