FEBRUARY 5, 2016— The Panama Canal Authority (ACP) reports that sill reinforcements in the new locks have been completed this week, bringing the Panama Canal Expansion one step closer to inauguration. The
ACP says that it has now been told by contractot Grupo Unidos por el Canal, S.A. (GUPC) that the localized seepage found in the concrete sill between the lower and middle chamber of the Canal’s expanded Pacific Lock was the result of insufficient steel reinforcement in the area that was subjected to stress from extreme condition testing.
After careful examination of all the other sills in both lock complexes, GUPC stated that in addition to reinforcing the sill that presented the issue, it would also reinforce the first and second sill in the Cocoli Locks and the first three sills in the Atlantic-facing Agua Clara Locks as a preventative measure, though these sills have not presented any issue.
ACP said that GUPC also verbally indicated that the completion date for the Expansion Project will remain April 2016, as planned; however, the ACP is awaiting formal confirmation from GUPC, in the form of a comprehensive report which should also include the root cause of the detected filtrations.
ACP says that its contract with GUPC clearly states that the group is responsible for all corrections that may be required. The contractor has an obligation to ensure the long-term performance on all aspects of the construction of the locks and to complete the Expansion Project following the quality standards established in the contract.
ACP says it “will continue to assess the situation and communicate next steps.”