On Monday, May 7, the Panama Canal Authority (ACP) got one step closer to beginning its historic expansion with the release of the first construction project tender (request for proposal submission) for dry excavation along the north access channel on the Pacific end of the Canal.

The Expansion Program adds a new lane of traffic along the Panama Canal through the construction of a new set of locks, which will double the tonnage capacity and allow the transit of substantially larger vessels. The North Pacific channel excavation, which will be located west of Pedro Miguel and locks, is the first of five dry excavation projects that will help link the new Post-Panamax Locks on the Pacific end of the Canal to the existing Gaillard Cut and represents approximately 16 percent of the total excavation for the new Pacific Locks Access Channel.

The scope of work under the contract will include: the removal of non-classified material and disposal of excavated material at indicated locations, and the construction of new gravel roads and ditches.

"We are making history with the release of the first construction project tender. The Expansion is moving forward with great progress," said ACP Engineering and Programs Management Director Jorge L. Quijano. "We hope to attract firms with significant experience in this type of work as we begin this important phase of the project."