Panama embarked on a major programme to upgrade the Panama Canal to enhance international trade and navigation. This project will include the construction of two major lock complexes.
As well as widening and deepening the existing canal, the project involves the construction of the Pacific entrance and south approach channel to the third set of locks. Specifically, a 14.2 km stretch of the Canal had to be widened to a minimum width of 225 m and a minimum depth of minus 16.3 m.
An additional challenge was the subsoil, which is well known in the construction history for being notoriously hard.
Dredging International was able to win this prestigious contract from Autoridad del Canal de Panama (ACP) by offering an interesting execution method, the assignment of ultra modern heavy dredging plant and a variety of innovative technology.
The scope of the work included capital dredging, rock dredging, drilling and blasting and took place from April 2008 and June 2013.
The contract required the assignment of a wide variety of very specialised plant, including ocean-going heavy rock cutter suction dredges, trailing hopper dredges, large backhoe dredges and very advanced self-propelled pontoons for drilling and blasting.
Dredging International had to remove a total of 10 million m³ of material, a significant part of which was very hard rock that had to be drilled and blasted.