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New gates for expanded canal arrive in Panama

Written by Nick Blenkey

GatesCourtesyofACP2AUGUST 21, 2013 — In another milestone for the Panama Canal Expansion Program, the first four gates for the new locks arrived from the port of Trieste, Italy, to the waterway’s Atlantic side on board the semi-submersible vessel STX Sun Rise yesterday.

“This is an exciting moment for the Panama Canal – the arrival of the new gates marks a great progress for this engineering project,” said Panama Canal Administrator Jorge L. Quijano.

The Panama Canal Expansion is 62 percent complete. It involves the construction of a third lane of traffic allowing the passage of Post-Panamax vessels, which will double the Canal’s capacity and have an important impact in world maritime trade.

The new locks of the expanded Panama Canal have a total of 16 rolling gates (eight for each new lock complex). The gates are being shipped four at a time from Italy. They will be unloaded onto a temporary dock until ready for installation. Unlike the current Canal, which uses miter gates, the expanded Canal will have steel rolling gates.

Built by subcontractor Cimolai SpA, the first four gates are 57.6 m long, 10 m wide and 30.19 m high, and weigh an average of 3,100 tons. They will be installed in the middle chamber of the new locks on the Atlantic side.

The gates will be transported to their final position using the same self-propelled motorized wheel transporters (SPMTs) used to load and unload them from the ship.

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