The initial testing of the new Panama Canal locks have sprung a leak. The concrete retaining wall is part of the interior chamber at the Cocoli locks on the Pacific side. A core sample showed that the concrete held air pockets which indicates an issue with how the concrete was poured.
The Panama Canal Authority issued a warning that it would not accept any of the current works until all the flaws are fixed. The consortium responsible for the expansion is investigating the matter and plan to give the canal authorities an answer on whether the new section of the waterway will be ready when promised.
The crack, although alarming, is not the catastrophe that it appears to be. Javier Carrillo, international trade specialist for the Panama Canal Authority, said the needed repairs will not delay the planned April 2016 opening. “We’re actually glad it happened now, because we’re in the testing phase. We’re testing each and every component.” Delaying the time table for the opening will be avoided because potential lock repairs were built into the schedule.
Officials involved with the repair operation say that they already know how to fix the problem and that it should only take about thirty days.
The Panama Canal spokesman is expected to make an official statement soon as to any extension to the deadline.