Construction Begins on New Lock for Panama Canal Expansion

Wednesday, February 09 2011 @ 08:40 PM UTC

Contributed by: Don Winner

The construction of what will be the new lock of the Panama Canal began this year, within the time allowed, according to the consortium Grupo Unidos Por el Canal (GUPC), that is responsible for the project. The cost of the project to expand the Panama Canal is estimated at $5.25 billion dollars, and should be ready by 2014. Antonio Zaffaroni, GUPC consortium's executive director, said today that the excavations have reached the expected level of progress, "we have completed the installation of the industrial plants and have started with the concrete." This means - the executive explained - that "we have entered the industrial process" to build the third set of locks during the next three years. Under the expansion project, construction of the third set of locks is estimated to cost $2.73 billion dollars and the water saving basins $620 million. This represents 65% of the total cost of the project. Zaffaroni said production will increase gradually and by the end of 2011 it is expected that the work will be between 25% to 30% completed. Today, he said, there are 2,500 people working on this project (in the physical part) and as the demand for labor increases it will peak at 5,000 workers. (La Prensa)

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