Access to the Pacific Ocean in the Panama Canal- Pac 4

Access to the Pacific Ocean in the Panama Canal- Pac 4

This project is situated along the Panama Canal and consists of the excavation of a new course in the Canal that will connect the new locks with the so-called Corte Culebra, the narrowest strip of the waterway close to the Pacific Ocean entrance to the Canal.

The works, executed by FCC, ICA and MECO, consist of the construction of 3.7 kilometres of approach to the Pacific Locks, with a 200-metre width.

It includes the installation of containment structure made up of cellular coffer dams along more than 1.5 kilometres that allows the construction of a 2.9-kilometre long earth and rock dam with an impermeable clay core, with a base approximately 150 metres long and 26 metres high and a 30-metre wide crest. 

The works include the excavation, transport and dumping of some 27 million cubic metres of mainly rocky material.

During the excavation process, a pumping system will be installed because of the presence of water in levels higher than the maximum excavation depth. 

The installation of surface and underground water drainage systems is also contemplated and the implementation and administration of environmental controls.

In addition, the access roadway sand diversion water drainage channels will be constructed, together with tanks and the cleaning of approximately 80 hectares of firing ranges.

Remarkable aspects

  • The purpose of this expansion is to double the transit capacity of the Canal from 300 to 600 million tonnes per year.
  • This project answers the need to enlarge the Canal to enable the ships known as "Post-Panamax" to pass through.

Client: The Panama Canal Authorities

Start date: 2010

End date: November 2015