Great Video Updating & Explaining Canal Expansion

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#1
Boquete, Chiriqui, Panama
1,194 Posts
Joined Feb 2008
The ACP has just released a great new video which not only shows the progress on the Canal expansion to date, but gives an excellent explanation of how the new expansion will work.

Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1TRdk-LWq2g#t=57

Regards, Richard

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Richard Detrich - Port & Canal Lecturer & Author
#2
St. Paul MN
3,215 Posts
Joined Dec 2007
Richard,
Thank you for the link to the very informative video.

Questions I have is how much higher will Lake Gatun be?
Where do they put all the material, earth from the dregging operations?

What a complex engineering feat.
Very interesting about the fresh water holding chambers for the locks.
#3
Florida
5,519 Posts
Joined Feb 2006
I can provide some info for you, Azulann..... Gatun Lake has a nominal elevation above sea level of 85'. Right now the highest elevation the lake reaches is close to 87.2, optimally they try to achieve this elevation just before the Dry Season (late December), the lowest I have ever seen the lake is 77' above sea level. During that period there were rather significant draft restrictions, which of course hinders shipping. When everything is said and done the new elevation will be right at 89'. Not only will this provide additional depth in Gatun Lake, but will provide additional storage capacity. An added benefit that will work in conjunction with the water saving basins at the new locks, they actually will use less water per lockage than the present locks.

As far as where the spoils are deposited, if it is a suction dredge it is most likely to be deposited via pipeline out side of the Canal proper. On the other hand if the spoils are removed by a dipper dredge, the spoils are more than likely to be deposited in another part of the Gatun Lake. I am going to include this picture not only because it is really neat with the old sailing ship traversing the Canal of today, but the island in the background is called Dump Inspector's Island. Starting North of Gamboa, the majority of sloughs on the West side of the main channel are called dumps. The primary purpose of the dumps was to be a repository for dredging spoils. The Dump Inspector lived on that island in really neat house which remained there until the 1970s (there was no dump inspector, but the structure remained). The "Dump" in which the island is located just happens to be Dump 12. The reason I know this is because I used to have a recreational land lease in that dump. Some great times!

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#4
St. Paul MN
3,215 Posts
Joined Dec 2007
Thanks for answering my questions.
I remember seeing some little islands as we were moving through Lake Gatun. I remember one had a small dock and a well worn path into the trees. I wondered at the time did people boat out there and camp or...
recreational land lease sound like fun.


BTW, over on the Celebrity board they are all speculalting about the Millenium
which is on its way from Alaska to Bahama's drydock to fix its problem. Would love to see it in the canal on the web camera.
Sound like this ship without paying passengers will go through the canal twice before resuming its schedule around 9/22.
that will cost a chunk of change, or will they get a special price for its transit?
#5
Florida
5,519 Posts
Joined Feb 2006
They will get a special price of sorts.... regular tolls are $134 per passenger berth if there are paying passengers on board. No paying passenger on board the price "drops" to $108 per berth, still fairly substantial. The problem is compounded by the fact they probably had to bid for a transit, which can mean the sky is the limit. Kind of the same deal when you walk up to an airline ticket counter the day you need to travel and you just open your wallet and let them take whatever they want!

I looked at marinetraffic.com while the Millennium was off San Fran and she was making 17 knots, pretty good on one unit. I would suspect she might be able to make the Canal in about 5 days or so at that speed assuming no stops.
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"If the phone doesn't ring, it's me!"
"Is it ignorance or is it apathy? ... I don't know and I don't care!"
S.S. Badger R/T from Manitowoc June 02