First publishedin World Highways
In Panama, a ten-year US$5 billion project is underway to double the capacity of the Panama Canal
Since its completion in 1914 the Panama canal has allowed shipping to cross the 80km wide isthmus at the narrowest part of the Americas.
Belgian company Dredging International's D'Artagnan, a self-propelled heavy-duty cutter suction dredger, arrived at the canal, and the latest addition to the Panama Canal Authority
's (ACP) expansion dredging fleet then made its way to the Pacific entrance, where it will expand the existing Pacific entrance from 192m to 255m and deepen it to 15.5m below the mean water springs. The ACP has tendered a consultancy to complete designs for a new long-span cable-stayed bridge on the Atlantic side of the Panama Canal, and the consultant will deliver final designs, construction specification and estimated construction cost, which is not to exceed US$350 million.
ACP aims to tender construction of the bridge in February 2012.
The structure must have a vertical clearance of 75m above the canal, taking into account the possibility of a fourth set of locks, with a lifespan of 100 years.
The project also includes designing access roads on either side of the canal, as well as other bridges that may be required as part of those roads.
is handling the largest individual contract in its 40-year history working at the canal.
With work set for completion in 2014, the centrepieces of this monumental project are the two enormous lock installations at the Atlantic and Pacific coasts.
"For their realisation, PERI is planning and supplying the formwork and scaffolding systems," says the company.
An international team of engineers has been dealing with the consortium of building contractors, including Spanish contractor Sacyr Vallehermoso
from Italy; Jan de Nul
from Belgium and Panama-based Constructora Urbana
, who are responsible for the construction.
By the end of June, 2011, over 300 containers filled with formwork and scaffolding materials, had been delivered.