While we are not a part of the project, we nevertheless find the engineering feat fascinating on both a professional and personal basis. The expansion of the Panama Canal will not only double the capacity of the Canal but allow larger ships to pass through it. The $5.2 billion project is now estimated to be closer to nearly $7 billion, and is the largest project on the canal since it officially opened in 1914. It is expected to be completed in 2015.
Once completed, the project will add a third lane of traffic by constructing new lock complexes at each end of the Canal. On the Pacific side, the lock complex will be located southwest of the existing Miraflores Locks and the other will be east of the existing Gatun Locks. As part of each lock complex, they contain three chambers that move vessels from sea level to the level of Gatun Lake and back down again. Wikipedia explains, “Each chamber will have three lateral water-saving basins, for a total of nine basins per lock and 18 basins in total. Just like the existing locks, the new locks and their basins will be filled and emptied by gravity, without the use of pumps.
What really struck us about this project was a short article by Putzmeister regarding their extensive equipment used on the Panama Canal. This list includes Twelve Putzmeister Telebelt TB 130’s, one Telebelt TB 200, three 58-Meter Boom Pumps, one 52Z-Meter Boom Pump and four Thom-Katt TK 40 trailer pumps. All of the equipment was used to construct the two 1,400-foot long by 180-foot wide by 60-foot deep channels that will make up the Canal’s third set of locks.
We may not be working on the canal but our large pumping and belting divisions based out of Southern California, Northern California and the Washington areas have done their share of big projects. Just in the last several years, Conco has been a part of many of the more notable construction done on the West Coast.
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