To accommodate larger vessels and increased maritime traffic, Panama has been building a new pair of locks on both sides of the canal. The $5.25 billion expansion project will double the canal’s capacity and open in early 2016.
While the gates are all in place on the Caribbean side, there was still one left to position on the Pacific side. “These gates look like huge books standing on their ends,” Steinmetz says. “They are put on these unusual self-propelled dollies that look like the back of a 18-wheeler truck. Instead, it has 80 wheels on it.”
Panama is putting the finishing touches on a very elaborate undertaking. “They’ve been working on this for years, and now they are getting ready to activate the canal, so they have to get all this machinery out,” says Steinmetz. “It’s a huge logistical ballet. It’s very impressive.”