Panama Canal Authority announces completion of testing of sill reinforcements of Cocoli locks


Panama lock test

The Panama Canal Authority (ACP) has reported that Grupo Unidos por el Canal (GUPC), which has been assigned with the responsibility of designing and developing the Third Set of Locks Project, has concluded the testing of the reinforcements in sill number three of the Cocolí locks.

In August, a large crack was detected in one of the chambers of the new lock complexes, which was attributed to an insufficient steel reinforcement in the area while being subjected to stress from extreme condition testing.

The incident had prompted the GUPC technical personnel, the designers and Panama Canal Authority (ACP) specialists to fill the crack, to fix and reinforce the structure and monitor its testing process.

The testing was inspected by a team of independent experts, professors and structural engineers from the Technological University of Panama (UTP).

GUPC is set to assess the electromechanical components necessary to evaluate the expanded canal's proper functionality and operability.

"The expansion aims to improve navigational channels (dredging), water supply and create an access to the Pacific."

The project, also known as the Third Set of Locks Project, commenced in 2006. It involved raising the capacity of Gatun Lake and the construction of two new sets of locks to accommodate ships ferrying 14,000 containers of freight, tripling the size limit.

The expansion aims to improve navigational channels (dredging), water supply and create an access to the Pacific.

The programme was expected to be inaugurated in April; however the date has been pushed to May due to the repair works.

Currently, less than 4% of work is left to complete the expansion programme.


Image: An aerial view of the expanded Panama Canal. Photo: courtesy of ACP.