Gates For Expanded Panama Canal Locks Leave Italy

Tuesday, May 06 2014 @ 03:03 PM EDT

Contributed by: Don Winner

The administrator of the Panama Canal Authority, Jorge Quijano announced a new set of locks, part of the project to expand the Panama Canal, have been sent from Italy to Panama, so therefore he urged the striking construction workers to return to work.

The first four lock gates arrived in Panama on 16 August 2013. The transfer of the remaining lock gates was delayed due to a conflict with the Grupo Unidos por el Canal (GUPC) over alleged cost overruns, because the carrier was not paid.

These first gates that are already in Panama measure 57.60 meters long, 10 meters wide, 30.19 meters high, with an average unit weight of 3,00 tons.

The gates were transferred aboard the vessel M/N Sunrise, in a trip that took about a month, from the Trieste in the Pordenone province, northeast of Italy to Panamanian waters on the Atlantic coast.

The manufacture, transportation, and installation of gates is being done by Cimolai SpA, a subcontractor of the Consortium Grupo Unidos por el Canal, SA.

The gates are designed to roll, placed in a niche on the side of the lock and moved to the other side on little cars, on both ends of the gate.

The movement is perpendicular to the central axis of the lock, unlike the hinged doors of the existing locks, consisting of two sheets, each fixed to a wall of the lock, and swiveling to effect closure.

Although the heaviest gates weigh about 3,700 tons, their design, which incorporates buoyancy chambers in the structure, allow them to move on the rails with an average of 15% of their actual weight. (TVN)

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