The Panama Canal invited the general public on May 17 2015 to see the Panama Canal expansion at around 90% progress. As La Prensa reported over 45,000 visitors where able to see the new locks with the huge sliding doors from the inside as well as from a panoramic view point from the end of the locks. Unfortunately do a heavy rain that day and probably more visitors then expected interrupted the otherwise good organization of the visit.
The Panama Canal Expansion Map, the red arrows on the left shot the positions from where the attached images where taken, click on the above image for a bigger version to see the details better.
A new 6.1 kilometer access channel connects from here to the Culebra Cut, that channel goes parallel to the existing Canal route by passing the Pedro Miguel Locks.
The huge Gateway where the post panamax ships will align themself with help of the tugboats before the get in the locks.
Well these locks are HUGE, these images can pass on only a part of the impression you feel inside there. Over 45000 people visited the locks that day and well selfies abound that day! ;)
The new locks are 427 meters long and 55 meters wide, about the size of four football fields. The Third Set of Locks design-build contract has a total fixed cost of US$3.2 billion. 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.
Only a small part of the cement production facilities and cement trucks used during the peak time of construction to pour in the same amount of cement every day that was used to build the hole of the new Westland Shopping Mall in Arraijan, Panama. Completing both new lock complexes will require a total of 4.4 million cubic meters of concrete.
The new huge sliding lock doors made in Italy (with weights between 1.900t and 4.300t each and measuring 58,7m x 10m x 34,7m), new design for easier maintenance so they can be worked on also from the inside like in a dry dock. They partly float so sliding them wont be as heavy.
Here in the last part of the images we stand at the end of the locks on the Pacific side on a temporary earth dam that will be removed when the locks are flooded with water. Unfortunately at that moment of the morning it started to rain and that created a bit of caos in the organization, but well such is life in the tropics I guess. In any case we appreciate and thanks everybody that helped in the tremendous task that was sure not easy to accomplish. For some more details and facts please see this page from The Panama Canal.