The massive steel structures weigh on average 3,400 tons. The gates vary in sizes depending on their location (Pacific or Atlantic) and their position on the locks chambers. The tallest of all gates is 33.04 meters high, the equivalent of an 11-story building. Unlike the current Canal, which uses miter gates, the expanded Canal will have steel rolling gates. The rolling system facilitates gate maintenance.
The Panama Canal Expansion is the largest project at the Canal since its original construction. The project will create a new lane of traffic along the Canal through the construction of a new set of locks, doubling the waterway’s capacity. The existing locks allow the passage of vessels that can carry up to 5,000 TEUs.
After the expansion the Post-Panamax vessels will be able to transit through the Canal, with up to 13,000 TEUs. The Expansion will double the Canal’s capacity, having a direct impact on economies of scale and international maritime trade.
The Program consists of several components:
• New Locks (Third Set of Locks)
• Pacific Access Channel
• Improvement of Navigational Channels (Dredging)
• Improvements to Water Supply
The Panama Canal expansion is based on six years of research, which included more than 100 studies on the economic feasibility, market demand, environmental impact and other technical engineering aspects. Works on the Panama Canal Expansion began on September 2007 at a total cost of US$5.2 billion.
To date, the overall program is 83 percent complete, with several major components, such as its dry excavation and dredging projects, already finished. In addition, 94 percent of the works required to be able to operate the new water level of Gatun Lake have been completed.
Source | Panama Canal