Panama Canal Pacific Locks Get First Taste of Water

The Panama Canal expansion program reached another milestone when the Canal’s Pacific locks began to fill with water yesterday, following a similar endeavor on the Atlantic side earlier this month.

The filling process of the so-called Cocoli’s locks will make use of powerful electric and diesel pumps, designed specifically for the job.

The electric pumps are expected to provide 30,000 gallons of water per minute each, while an added network of 13 diesel pumps will work to pump 7,000 gallons of water per minute each, filling the lower chamber at a rate of nine inches per hour.

The filling and subsequent testing of the new Pacific locks is expected to take approximately 90 days to complete.

Among their features, each lock complex includes three chambers, nine water-saving basins with a filling and emptying side system and rolling gates.

As of the end of May, the overall expansion program stood at 89.8 percent complete.

”Earlier this month, we reached one of the most important milestones of the program through the filling work of the Atlantic locks; now moving on to the Pacific side, we take great pride in the work done so far and are eager to bring the full program to completion,” said Panama Canal Administrator/CEO Jorge L. Quijano.