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Panama Canal begins Atlantic gate installation

Panama Canal gatePRESS RELEASE

December 15, 2014 - The installation of the gates for the new locks of the Panama Canal successfully began today on the Atlantic side of the waterway.

"This is a very important milestone for the Expansion Program," said Panama Canal Administrator Jorge L. Quijano. "We see how the new locks are rapidly taking shape as we move towards the successful completion of the project."

The gate will be located in lock head two in the new locks on the Atlantic side. The installation of the gate began early in the morning and is expected to be completed in the next couple of days. The steel gates are moved using self-propelled motorized wheel transporters (SPMTs) with more than 400 wheels each.

The gate currently being installed is 10 meters wide, 30.19 in height and weighs 3,285 tons. In total, the new locks will have 16 rolling gates, eight in the Pacific and eight in the Atlantic.

On December 10 the transfer was completed of the eight gates belonging to the new locks on the Pacific side. The transits began on October 22 to move all the gates through the waterway aboard a barge from the Atlantic temporary dock to the Pacific, assisted by Panama Canal tugs.

The last gate to make the transit was 31.9 meters high, 57 meters long and 8 meters wide, weighing 4,200 tons. It is among the heaviest of all the gates.

The new locks will have 16 rolling gates, eight in the Pacific and eight in the Atlantic. With this last transit, all gates will be in the new locks ready for installation during the next couple of months

The gates have been arriving in staggered shipments from Italy since August on a Post-Panamax vessel to a temporary dock in the Atlantic side. The last shipment arrived in November 2014.

Overall, the Panama Canal Expansion Program is 84 percent complete.

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