Gate installation begins at Panama Canal Expansion

The installation of the gates for the new locks of the Panama Canal successfully began on the Atlantic side of the waterway.

visitor20-51_Page_04_Image_0015“This is a very important milestone for the Expansion Program,” said Panama Canal Administrator Jorge L. Quijano. “We see how the new locks are rapidly taking shape as we move towards the successful completion of the project.”

The first gate will be located in lock head two in the new locks on the Atlantic side. The installation of the gate is expected to be completed in the next couple of days. The steel gates are moved using self-propelled motorized wheel transporters (SPMTs) with more than 400 wheels each.

The gate currently being installed is 10 meters wide, 30.19 meters in height and weighs 3,285 tons. In total, the new locks will have 16 rolling gates, eight in the Pacific side and eight in the Atlantic side.

Observe the expansion

The billion-dollar expansion of the Panama Canal is one of the greatest mega-projects taking place in the world today. The best place to observe the action is at the lookout over the Canal on the Atlantic side. While there is no water in this portion of the Canal yet, the Panama Canal Expansion Observation Center affords a great view of how it is taking shape.

The Center overlooks the new “Great Dig” and is perched 50 meters above the site where visitors can enjoy a privileged and unobstructed view while in the shade. Gatún Lake provides a perfect backdrop.

For directions to the Center, its hours and rates, call 276-8325 or go to