The Panama Canal has just taken another step forward toward the completion of the Canal Expansion Program by beginning to fill the Cocoli’s locks on the Pacific side, following a similar endeavor on the Atlantic side earlier this month. The step marks the start of a methodical phase of compliance and operational testing for the project.
“Earlier this month, we reached one of the most important milestones of the programme through the filling work of the Atlantic locks; now moving on to the Pacific side, we [are] eager to bring the full programme to completion”, said Panama Canal Administrator/CEO Jorge Quijano.
The filling process will use powerful electric and diesel pumps, designed specifically for the job. They are each expected to provide 30,000 gallons of water per minute, while an added network of 13 diesel pumps will each work to pump 7,000 gallons of water per minute, filling the lower chamber at a rate of nine inches (23cms) an hour.
The filling and subsequent testing of the new Pacific locks is expected to take approximately 90 days to complete.
Among their features, each lock complex includes three chambers, nine water-saving basins with a filling and emptying side system and rolling gates.
As of the end of May, the overall Expansion Program of the Panama Canal was 89.8% complete.