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Exciting time we live in: Panama Canal
Old 03-26-2015, 06:07 PM   #1
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Exciting time we live in: Panama Canal

Only a hundred years ago, my grandfather was in the US Army Paymaster Corp in Panama as the Canal was being built (I even had a Aunt who was born there). Amazing how much we have advanced in such a short time (well, almost within my lifetime):

Lure of larger container ships fuels canal boom in Central America (May be behind a pay wall... if so I apologize.)

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An eight-year, $5.3bn expansion of the 100-year-old Panama Canal is nearing completion to facilitate passage of 21st century ships that can carry more than double the loads of today’s vessels.
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The expanded Panama Canal will be able to handle “new-Panamax” vessels carrying up to 13,000 containers — earlier Panamax ships could take up to 5,000 — and will enable the US to export gas to China, Japan and South Korea. China accounts for more than a quarter of the volume of cargo passing through Panama — explaining its interest in securing speedy routes.
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It is an engineering project on an eye-popping scale. The 16 lock gates are each of 10-storeys; the locks contain as much steel as 22 Eiffel towers; the concrete used would build 2.5 pyramids of Giza and engineers have had to shift 50m cubic metres of rock
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The locks are designed to use 60 per cent less water through the design of special basins, and rely on gravity, not pumps.
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Old 03-26-2015, 07:38 PM   #2
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I went through the Panama Canal twice in my (surfaced) submarine in 1983 and 1984. It was one of the most amazing engineering projects I've ever seen.
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Old 03-26-2015, 10:16 PM   #3
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I went through last April...they had some of the new lock doors sitting there, but it was difficult to get a bead on just how large they were. The existing canal op is very cool... I plan to go back when the bigger locks are working.
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Old 03-26-2015, 10:27 PM   #4
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One of my former coworkers spent a day onsite with a construction inspector and sent back lots of amazing photos. Incredible engineering feat.


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Old 03-27-2015, 06:45 AM   #5
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The precision of the original is incredible. Even people who don't like cruiseships will often pick an itinerary that goes through at least one set of locks just for the up-close experience. I look forward to the future.
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Old 03-27-2015, 07:50 AM   #6
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The precision of the original is incredible. Even people who don't like cruiseships will often pick an itinerary that goes through at least one set of locks just for the up-close experience. I look forward to the future.

+1. I'd like to take a cruise through the canal also. Hopefully it will be as exciting in the new bigger canal as it was when it was tight in the old canal.


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Old 03-27-2015, 08:42 AM   #7
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They are also continuing to build on a canal in Nicaragua to get even more traffic through.

Wouldn't be surprised if it got canceled at some point though.
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Old 03-27-2015, 09:51 AM   #8
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Another reason I like Teddy Roosevelt so much. He had the vision to make this happen. Granted, the way the U.S. went about it isn't above reproach but the end result has been a huge boon to world trade and brought enormous benefits to people the world over. Teddy was roundly blasted for this on a trip to South America. He answered an auditorium full of critics there by saying he would do it all over again and makes no apologies. He turned a crowd that was initially quite hostile into one that was at least impressed with his convictions.
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Old 03-27-2015, 10:44 AM   #9
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Every time I think of the Panama Canal I remember an engineering inspector I worked with who had worked on a bridge over the canal. He said any time a Soviet ship would pass under they'd drop wrenches or whatever they had at hand down the stacks!
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Old 03-27-2015, 10:58 AM   #10
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I went through one set of locks in January of this year, my first time to do so...amazing. I definitely plan to go back, likely for a transit, once the new locks are completed and I am RE.
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