Panama Canal Will Open April 2016 Despite Leakage Problems Getty Images

Panama Canal Will Open April 2016 Despite Leakage Problems

The Panama Canal expansion will be completed by April 2016, despite the recent problem of water leakage from fissures in one of the locks, according to a report by Juan José Rodríguez for AFP.

On Sept. 30 the Panama Canal Authority reported that the localized seepage was the result of insufficient steel reinforcement in the area which was subjected to stress from extreme condition testing.

After careful examination of all the other sills in both lock complexes, the Grupo Unidos por el Canal, S.A. (GUPC), the contractor responsible for the design and construction of the Third Set of Locks, said that in addition to reinforcing the sill that presented the issue, they 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.

On October 6 the group said the third set of locks "has entered its countdown phase.” Furthermore  the 16 massive sliding gates of the new locks "are responding positively to all electromechanical tests."

At least three more months of testing will be carried out before navigation tests begin.

The project is expected to be completed in April 2016 which is 1.5 years past the original target date.

The consortium overran its initial $5.25 billion budget, leading to financial disputes with the Panama Canal Authority, the Panama government agency charged with operating the canal.

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