Today was another interesting and busy day. Through a contact in the Panama Canal Authority, I got the opportunity to take a boat ride through a part of the canal and the canal locks. After I got to the boat I learnt that we were sitting still for an hour due to a delay in the cargo ship that we were supposed to follow through the locks. Finally as the ship arrived we followed it into the massive locks. These locks are designed to raise and lower ships through pumping/draining of water so the ships can navigate through the canal (which is at a higher water level than the ocean). During the boat trip I also had the chance to see the massive construction project underway for the new locks which could accommodate larger ships. I also saw the continuous dredging project to make the canal deeper for these large sized ships.
The Panamanian people take a lot of pride in this canal and there are strict environmental regulations protecting the water shed surrounding the canal. Many of our bridge sites will be located around protected rivers that feed into the canal, therefore we will require special permissions from the canal authorities to construct near these rivers. While building these bridges in remote areas, this is only one of the many unforeseen impediments that could slow down the bridge construction process.
Below are photos from my Panama Canal boat trip through the locks and the dredging process: