Friday, September 4, 2015

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Panama Canal leaks could push back expansion opening

United Groups for the Canal (GUPC), the construction consortium building the Panama Canal expansion project, is in deep water over cracks in the locks. After severe leakage problems became visible, the Panama Canal Authority (ACP) issued a warning that it would not accept the current works until all flaws are fixed.

The ACP posted the message on August 21, after pictures were posted on social media showing water leaks in one of the new lockheads on the Pacific shore.

GUPC is investigating to determine whether the new section of the waterway will be ready by April 2016 as currently scheduled. GUPC and Montgomery Watzon Harza, the firm tasked with designing the new lockheads, are currently working on a strategy to repair the crack and seal the leak.

"(We aim) for the best quality. We won’t accept low-quality repairs. This is a new lockhead, and we expect it to work properly. We aim for a lifespan of 100 years," said Panama Canal administrator Jorge

Luis Quijano in an interview with HispanTV.

"GUPC informs that the pictures published in social media are from one of the lockheads on the canal’s Pacific side. Technical personnel are handling this issue. The goal of the testing phase is precisely to detect any problem that requires adjustment or reinforcement," said the company in a press release.

ACP stated that the GUPC is the sole responsible party for the expansion works, and ACP won’t accept anything short of perfection: "Our technicians are closely monitoring [developments] so that every detail complies with the quality standards."

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