Work on the second largest contract of the Panama Canal Expansion Program has begun. The Panama Canal Authority (ACP) issued consortium FCC-ICA-Meco the Notice to Commence the fourth and final dry excavation (PAC-4) contract.
 
PAC-4 is the most complex expansion project after the design and build of the new set of locks. The dry excavation included in PAC-4 will create an access channel linking the new Pacific locks with the Canal’s existing Gaillard Cut (the narrowest stretch of the Panama Canal).

The ACP awarded the PAC-4 contract to FCC-ICA-Meco, a Spanish, Mexican and Costa Rican joint venture, following the consortium’s lowest bid submission of $267,798,795.99, and its compliance with the requirements established in the request for proposal specifications. The ACP issued the Notice after receiving FCC-ICA-Meco’s performance and payment bonds and signing the contract.

The scope of work will include 26 million cubic meters of unclassified excavation, the installation of a backfilled cellular cofferdam water barrier and the construction of an earth-rock filled dam that will create part of the access channel’s eastern bank. The work is scheduled to conclude during the third quarter of 2013.

Expansion will build a new lane of traffic along the Panama Canal through the construction of a new set of locks which will double capacity and allow more traffic and longer, wider ships.