The BIG DITCH
Panama Canal - 1940
The third set of locks was almost built In the Panama Canal, just before WWII.
Because these ships were hard passing.
"PENNSYLVANIA" squeezing through Miraflores Locks
"MIDWAY" scraping the walls.
First excavation by dredging was in the Miraflores by-pass, it began on July 1, 1940,
As for the big merchant vessels, the Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mary, and the Normandie, they could not squeeze into the old locks at all. The projected locks would have had plenty of room for all corners.
|The new locks will be in triple flights, with sliding
lock gates on each chamber
The current plan is for two new flights of locks: one
to the east of the existing Gatún locks, and one southwest of
Miraflores Locks, each supported by approach channels. Each flight will
ascend from ocean level direct to the Gatún Lake level; the
existing two-stage ascent at Miraflores / Pedro Miguel will not be
replicated. The new lock chambers will feature sliding gates, doubled
for safety, and will be 1,400 feet long, 180 feet wide, and 60 feet
deep; this will allow for the transit of vessels with a beam of up to
160 feet, an overall length of up to 1,200 feet and a draft of up to 50
feet, equivalent to a container ship carrying around 12,000,
20-foot-long containers (TEU).
The new locks will be supported by new approach channels, including a 3.8-mile-long channel at Miraflores from the locks to the Gaillard Cut, skirting around Miraflores Lake. Each of these channels will be 715 feet wide, which will require post-Panamax vessels to navigate the channels in one direction at a time
The Gaillard Cut and the channel through Gatún Lake
will be widened to no less than 918 feet on the straight portions and
no less than 1,200 feet on the bends. The maximum level of Gatún
Lake will be raised from reference height 87.5 feet to 89 feet.