|Function / usage:||
|total length||81.5 km|
|number of locks||3|
|height difference||26 m|
|draft||max. 12 m|
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Since 2007, work has been underway on the most comprehensive expansion in the history of the Panama Canal. In the meantime, this project is nearly ...[more]
With the flooding of a canal section in June 2015, tests have begun in readiness for the scheduled opening of the expansion project in 10 months ti ...[more]
First phase of construction: Compagnie Universelle du Canal (de Lesseps) with many directors like Dingler, Bunau-Varilla, and Boyer.
Second phase of construction: Compagnie Nouvelle. The works continue only slowly.
Third phase of construction: United States Canal. More directors, including Goethals.
|10 October 1913||
U.S. President Woodrow Wilson triggers the explosive demolition of Gamboa Dike which marks the completion of the construction of the dam.
|14 August 1914||
First ship passage through the canal.
|7 September 1977||
U.S. President Jimmy Carter signs the Torrijos - Carter Treaty in which control over the canal is conceded gradually to Panama.
|31 December 1999||
The canal falls completely under Panamanian jurisdiction and control. Since then, the toll structures in effect since 1912 have been completely revised and traffic and revenue have increased every year.
The canal includes Gatun Lake, an articifially created body of water with a surface of 425 km².
There are three locks: Gatun Locks, Pedro Miguel Locks and Miraflores Locks. Each hall or chamber in the locks is 304.80 meters long, and 33.52 meters wide.
Cort Gaillard or Corte Culebra is a large ditch made by human workers 14.5 km in length.
Ships usually take about 8 to 10 hours to pass through the canal. The naval distance between New York and San Francisco was around 26 000 km before the construction of the canal (by way of Cape Horn), after the opening of the canal, this was reduced to roughly 10 000 km.
Officially, 5609 workers died during the construction of the canal.
Due to the size restrictions in the locks, only about 60% of sea-going vessels are able to pass through the canal. However, many ships have been designed specifically to be able to pass through the canal fully loaded and with maximum payload. These are classified as Panamax class ships. The defining dimension are 294 meters in length, 32.3 meters in width and a draft of 12.04 m. By current standards these are mid-sized ships. Updating of the locks to fit larger vessels is still under consideration.
Relevant Web Sites
- Between Two Oceans: The Panama Canal. In: Civil Engineering Magazine, v. 84, n. 7 (July 2014), pp. 42-45. (2014):
- The Building of the Panama Canal in Historic Photographs. Dover Pubns., pp. 176. (1984):
- Un canal ... des canaux. Picard Éditeur, Paris (France), pp. 323-334. (1986):
- Le canal de Panama. In: Annales des Ponts et Chaussées, n. 2 ( 1912), pp. 157. (1912):
- DYWIDAG-Felsanker sichern Panamakanal vor Erdrutschen. In: DSI Info, n. 16 ( 2008- 2009), pp. 100-101.
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