One of the major engineering projects of the early 21st century is the construction of the so called “post-panamax” locks as part of the expansion of the nearly century old Panama Canal.
The bidding on both engineering issues and cost was won by Grupo Unidos por el Canal S. A. (GUPCSA). This group is a partnership of Sacyr Vallermoso, Impregilo, JAN DE NUL and Constructora Urbana SA. A look at the periodic reports issued by the Panama Canal Authority (ACP) gives us a clue as to the immensity of the project and the professionalism in how it is being carried out.
Regular coordination meetings are held between ACP and the consortium. Summaries are published on the ACP web site. Topics discussed on these meetings include things that only an engineer could love but which are essential to the successful completion of this mega project. List includes basalt categorization methodologies; locks design progress; electricity, lighting, communication, controls, safety and protection systems; and valves manufacturing.
In addition ACP carried out “over-the-shoulder” design reviews on mechanical systems; communication, safety and security systems; concrete mixes; construction and infrastructure design development; and seismic design of the lock gates. As of December ACP’s review determined that the consortium’s design team was in compliance with design quality requirements and that such details as the locks document control plan are within compliance limits.
Such a mega project requires attention to detail on every level. The contractors submit information regarding thinks like concrete mix designs and then need to demonstrate proper performance under testing conditions. The contract for this project has timelines specified for every detail and such is the professionalism of ACP that all facets of the project appear to be on time and in compliance. An interesting note is that as of December 2010 the contractor for dredging on the Pacific site had removed 5.18 cubic meters of material. For a look at construction in progress one can visit the Panama Canal Authority web site and watch via the web cams.
For more information about Panama’s Canal please contact one of Panama experts today.
This post is also available in: Spanish