Third Panama Canal expansion contract awarded

By Richard High09 January 2009

The US$ 5.25 billion expansion of the 77 km-long Panama Canal, is the largest infrastructure project

The US$ 5.25 billion expansion of the 77 km-long Panama Canal, is the largest infrastructure project currently underway in Latin America (see for more information on this project)

The Panama Canal Authority (ACP) has awarded Costa Rica's Constructora MECO the third of four dry excavation contracts to help create an access channel linking the new Pacific locks with the Canal's existing Gaillard Cut (the narrowest stretch of the Panama Canal).

Commenting on the contract award, the ACP's executive vice president of engineering and program management, Jorge L. Quijano, said, "This pivotal step in the process to build the new lane represents just one more example of the Expansion Program's steady progress. Constructora MECO is a leading construction company in Latin America with expertise in the execution of infrastructure projects such as this one.

The work will include excavation, removal and disposal of 8 million m3 of material, which will further reduce ParaĆ­so (Paradise) Hill from 46 to 27.5 m above sea level. It also calls for the construction of about 2.5 km of access roads and the clearing of 190 ha of land containing munitions and explosives, remnants of US military training in Panama.

Expansion will build a new lane of traffic along the Panama Canal through the construction of a new set of locks which will double capacity and allow more traffic and longer, wider ships.

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