The Panama Canal Authority (ACP) released its Request for Proposals (RFP) for the fourth dry excavation contract today, the second largest and most complex project after the locks contract.

Rounding out the last of four dry excavation projects, the fourth dry excavation project represents a key portion of expansion’s new access channel linking the new Pacific locks with the waterway’s existing Gaillard Cut (the narrowest stretch of the Panama Canal).

“Releasing the fourth dry excavation RFP today signals a critical real step forward. As expansion’s second largest contract, this project will create the final portions of expansion’s new lane. It will require keen expertise due to its scope and quantity of work,” said ACP Executive Vice President of Engineering and Program Management Jorge L. Quijano. “We are confident in the top-caliber bids that we will receive and look forward to awarding the contract. We are pleased that, so far, expansion works remain on-track and on-budget.”

Fourth Dry Excavation – Scope of Work

The scope of work will include 27 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 conform part of the eastern bank of the access channel.

Moreover, the ACP will ensure all of the work meets specific environmental requirements.

Other work under this contract will include:

•  constructing access roads;
•  managing disposal site areas for excavated or dredged material;
•  installing a dewatering system to remove surface and underground water;
•  clearing unexploded ordnances (UXOs) – remnants from former U.S. military training facilities in the Canal area; and, other miscellaneous tasks such as demolition work.

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

Contracting Process

The first step in determining which firm will conduct the work includes a prequalification process that requires bidders to submit a package that includes their technical and financial capability to perform the work. That package will allow the ACP to evaluate the bidders’ experience in comparable projects and financial strength. Once qualified, interested firms can then submit their proposal.

Similar to the three preceding dry excavation projects, the ACP will award this contract to the firm or consortium with the lowest priced proposal that meets all of the RFP’s requirements.

Technical proposals are due August 31 and Price proposals are due October 30, 2009. Details of the RFP are available on the ACP’s Online Bidding System (tender number 94278):