Expanded Panama Canal locks fully functional

The consortium building the expanded Panama Canal Grupo Unidos por el Canal (GUPC) announced on Wednesday that it had reached the full functionality of the third set of locks project.

It completed a process that has been performing over the last few months, which means that the work has been tested for operations of the locks to satisfaction, as specified by the Panama Canal Authority. GUPC comprises Sacyr of Spain, Salini-Impregilo from Italy, Jan De Nul of Belgium, and Constructora Urbana, SA (CUSA) of Panama.

“The project is ready to receive the first vessel, demonstrating that it works perfectly and that we fully complying with the requirements of the contract,” said Chief Operating Officer of GUPC, Giuseppe Quarta.

He “Today, as during all these years, the technical capacity of GUPC is demonstrated to deliver high quality work and fully operational. The test results confirm that we have a world-class system.”

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As the construction was coming to a close some leaking sills were discovered that took six months to repair, postponing again the functional completion date to 31 May 2016. Repairs for the leaking lock-heads were completed in January 2016. According to a 2014 Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that ended a dispute over cost overruns, GUPC had until 31 December 2015 to deliver the project with a “buffer time” of two months but the schedule was disrupted by the leaking sills.

For the consortium, achieving complete functionality of the work has involved concluding successfully more than two thousand tests between both sides of the project, scheduled over three hundred different scenarios for the passage of a ship, more than one hundred twenty lockages and make the performance of the hydraulic system to exceed vastly the requirements, among other commitments, said GUPC in a statement.

Simultaneously, it is advancing in menial jobs related to the aesthetics of the work as urbanisation, gardening, painting of buildings, perimeter closings and related to the protection of complex systems, GUPC asserted.

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