Panama Canal Third Set of Locks
View a sneak peek of “Panama Canal Supersized” below.
Panama Canal Expansion Fast Facts
Million cubic meters of concrete were used to build the new Third Set of Locks
Amount of fresh water reused by the new water basins
Miles saved by ships traveling between New York and San Francisco using canal instead of going around Cape Horn
16th century Spanish dagger was found during excavation
Million pounds is the weight of each new gate
Items have been recovered from Panama Canal excavation sites
Minutes to open and close each new gate
New fossil species has been named after the Panama Canal called Glypturus panamacanalensis, also known as the Ghost Shrimp
This project is the type filmmakers dream of working on because we have the opportunity to share a unique and powerful story of an engineering wonder and make it real.Bill Ferehawk
Learn more about the production, equipment used and post production of “Panama Canal Supersized” in Randi Altman’s Post Perspective article titled, “‘Modern Marvels’ takes on the Panama Canal Expansion Project.”
Learn more about Radiant Features here.
A Day in the Life
Come with us as we meet John Duque and hear what he thinks about the project, the people at MWH and how MWH is pushing the boundaries of engineering in Panama.
Interested in a career with MWH Global?
Panama Canal Profiles
- Gabriel Llort's Experience on the Panama Canal
- Joe Adams’ Experience on the Panama Canal
- Holdemar Blaisdell’s Experience on the Panama Canal
- Lorman Zurita’s Experience on the Panama Canal
- Luis Valerio’s Experience on the Panama Canal
- Jenni Fordney's Experience on the Panama Canal
- Vik Iso-Ahola's Experience on the Panama Canal
- Noemi Terenti's Experience on the Panama Canal
Name: Gabriel (Gabe) Llort
Title: Deputy Design Manager for Electro-Mechanical Works and O&M
Years with MWH: 30 Plus
Role on the Project: Lead Electrical Engineer
What was your biggest takeaway from working on the Panama Canal Third Set of Locks Expansion Project? One of the biggest takeaways was to see our young engineers develop professionally and get attached to the project. The dedication that I have seen from our worldwide staff has no equal.
How would you describe the significance of this project? All phases of this project are significant historical events. When the first gate arrived in Panama from Italy, it was worldwide news. In essence all project milestones have made worldwide news.
The integration of a global workforce on the design of this project was challenging and at the same time welcome by all the team members from multiple companies that contributed on every facet of this project. The innovation in processes and designs has been impressive. In our specialty (electrical & controls), we were able to integrate our Pune design team by gradually increasing their responsibilities and appreciating their contribution to the delivery process. We were also supported by our civil group in Chicago, Tetratech’s group in Belleview, IV in the Netherlands, electrical in Cleveland, Revit in Denver and hydraulics in Argentina.
What made this Project different than others you have worked on? I will never forget the dedication and support of all our worldwide staff in this project. This is what I told with our Panama design staff in December 2014:
- I would like to take this opportunity to again say thank you for all our accomplishments. It is easy to see that this
group in Panama with the support of other team members worldwide have done a tremendous amount of work in the last 3 years and are fortunate to see their accomplishments every day in the actual construction.
- There are many more challenges ahead and we will need to continue performing with accuracy, speed and dedication until we can turn the light off in the Machinery Buildings and see the operators at the control room operate the locks remotely.
- We know our destination; we have an excellent GPS and enough energy to complete our assignment.
- Every day, when I come to work, I compare this project to a triathlon race, since every day we have to deal with many new challenges. And we are thankful for your accurate, dedicated and fast response.
- Please keep in mind that this is the best team ever assemble for a project that I have been involved. It is an honor to work and continue to work with all of you.
What did it mean to you personally to be a part of this project? The opportunity to work on this project has become a lifetime opportunity. That’s why I live the moment and share experiences with my family, coworkers and occasionally the world. The support of my family has been an important factor in this assignment.
Name: Joe Adams
Title: President, Energy & Industry
Years with MWH: 29
Role on the Project: Chairman of CICP
What was your biggest takeaway from working on the Panama Canal Third Set of Locks Expansion Project? – Once in a lifetime experience. Incredible challenge of getting contractors, engineers and supplies around the world to be able to work together and make sure that it all comes together at the end.
How would you describe the significance of this project? – This project will change World Trade. Shippers, ports and other transporters are scrambling to cope with what will be the new reality.
What made this Project different than others you have worked on? – The sheer magnitude and complexity of the project and the challenges of working with a global workforce. Probably the biggest challenge for me is dealing with the contractual issues that change constantly to adapt to changing conditions at the site.
What did it mean to you personally to be a part of this project? Highlight of my 36 year career and to be able to share with family, friends and other professionals the experience of working on the project.
Name: Holdemar J. Blaisdell
Title: Civil Engineer
Years with MWH: 3
Role on the Project: Shop Drawing Lead / QA Structural Engineer
What was your biggest takeaway from working on the Panama Canal Third Set of Locks Expansion Project? Personally it was a very different experience working with a world class project like this one because it has a completely macro management that allows you to understand the importance of working hand to hand with all the disciplines to obtain the better result possible.
How would you describe the significance of this project? Working on a “once in a lifetime” project is very significant for my career because it give me the opportunity to be part of the history of this project and I am very grateful for being able to provide my knowledge to help finishing this historical project.
What made this Project different than others you have worked on? This project is the biggest project ever made in the history of panama and all the world has the eyes on it, making it even more important than any project I ever worked on.
What did it mean to you personally to be a part of this project? I feel proud to be part the group of professionals chosen to work on this project and take advantage to enrich my experience with all the last technologies and methodologies implemented on this project.
Para versión español ver fin de la historia.
Name: Lorman Zurita
Title: Electronics Engineer
Years with MWH: 2
Role on the Project: Control and Instrumentation Specialist
1. What was your biggest takeaway from working on the Panama Canal Third Set of Locks Expansion Project? My biggest takeaway is that I had the privilege to work with great professionals and experts from several countries. Additionally, I had the opportunity to live in a beautiful country with so much potential that is Panama.
2. How would you describe the significance of this project? I think that we are improving the way business will be done for the next 20 years.
3. What made this Project different than others you have worked on? The scale of this project separates it from others as well as the global impact that it carries: ports, ships and all sort of logistic infrastructure is being built because of the Third Set of Locks.
4. What did it mean to you personally to be a part of this project? Personally, it’s a dream come true. When I learned that Panama was going to carry out the Panama Canal expansion project, I wanted to work on this project. Today I feel very proud to be part of such a great project!
Nombre: Lorman Zurita
Cargo: Ingeniero Electrónico
Años en MWH: 2
Rol en el Proyecto: Especialista en Control e Instrumentación
1. ¿Qué es lo más grande que se lleva de su trabajo en el Proyecto de Ampliación del Tercer Juego de Esclusas del Canal de Panamá? Me llevo la maravillosa experiencia de haber trabajado con grandes expertos y profesionales de muchas partes del mundo y el poder conocer un hermoso país lleno de mucho potencial que es Panamá.
2. ¿Cómo describiría la importancia de este proyecto? Pienso que estamos mejorando la manera de hacer negocios de los próximos 20 años.
3. ¿Qué diferenció a este Proyecto de otros en los que ha trabajado? La escala del proyecto lo distingue así como su impacto global: puertos, barcos y toda clase de infraestructura logística se está construyendo debido al Tercer Juego de Esclusas.
4. ¿Personalmente qué significó para usted formar parte de este proyecto? En lo personal es un sueño hecho realidad ya que desde que supe que Panamá iba a realizar la ampliación de su Canal, me planteé trabajar en él. Hoy me siento orgulloso de formar parte de este gran proyecto!
Name: Luis Valerio
Title: Principal Electrical Engineer
Years with MWH: 6 years
Role on the Project: Electrical Lead Engineer
What was your biggest takeaway from working on the Panama Canal Third Set of Locks Expansion Project? One of the most gratifying experiences in being involved with this Project is the opportunity of working in multidisciplinary design engineering teams from different parts of the world as well as the interaction with people of different backgrounds and nationalities on the Client and Owner sides.
How would you describe the significance of this project? – The magnitude and type of project is an opportunity of a lifetime for an engineer and a company. In the professional career of an engineer this Project will always stand out. For MWH being involved in the actual engineering of this Project represents a great exposure of our technical resources and experience.
What made this Project different than others you have worked on? First I would say the Project itself since it is only one Panama Canal Expansion Project that will remain as unique in the experience of all personnel that worked on it. Second, the multidisciplinary engineering teams gathered from different parts of the world that at some moments was a challenge.
What did it mean to you personally to be a part of this project? – The best professional engineering experience due to the challenges and difficulties found along the path and the way we confront them.
Name: Jenni Fordney
Title: Professional Civil Engineer
Years with MWH: 3
Role on the Project: Engineer for Concrete Thermal Analysis
What was your biggest takeaway from working on the Panama Canal Third Set of Locks Expansion Project? To be able to work on this project so early in my career was a very special experience that I will never forget. I found it incredible to see so many people from all over the world working day and night to finish the job. The hard work of everyone involved was very inspiring, and it is particularly exceptional to have been a part of such a historically significant project.
How would you describe the significance of this project? The Panama Canal Third Set of Locks project is not only one of the biggest projects that MWH has been involved with, but it is also recognized internationally for its importance. Historically, the Panama Canal is a unique engineering feat that completely changed the world. With the completion of this expansion, the world will continue to be better connected through trade and commerce. MWH, and those of us who were involved with the project, are lucky to have been involved with a project of such international significance that will touch the lives of so many.
What made this Project different than others you have worked on? Due to its large scale and complexity, this project was truly unique to be a part of. There were so many entities working on it from countries all over the world; the completion of the project will be thanks to the hard work of so many.
What did it mean to you personally to be a part of this project? I consider myself very lucky to have been experiences that I had while working on this project.
Name: Vik Iso-Ahola
Title: Principal Engineer
Years with MWH: 15
Role on the Project: Lead for Thermal Analysis of Lock Structures
What was your biggest takeaway from working on the Panama Canal Third Set of Locks Expansion Project? The incredible complexity and size of the project.
How would you describe the significance of this project? Extremely important project for facilitating trade. Fantastic opportunity to have contributed, even in my small niche role. Great learning experience and great for the resume.
What made this Project different than others you have worked on? Scale was just incredible, even when compared to large dam projects that I typically work on.
What did it mean to you personally to be a part of this project? Very rewarding and rare opportunity.
Name: Noemi Terenti
Years with MWH: 5 years
Role on the Project: Civil Infrastructure
What was your biggest takeaway from working on the Panama Canal Third Set of Locks Expansion Project?
Personally, it has been the most important challenge in my professional life.
How would you describe the significance of this project?
The Panama Canal is one of the largest and most important projects of the last Century. It will have major commercial impact on Panama and the world over.
What made this Project different than others you have worked on?
The scale and the complexity. It has been an enriching experience working with multidisciplinary teams from different parts of the world.
What did it mean to you personally to be a part of this project?
It has been a very rewarding opportunity.
“Panama Canal Supersized” in the news:
Watch us on the telly!
We are proud to announce that “Panama Canal Supersized” a Modern Marvels special featuring the Panama Canal Expansion Third Set of Locks debuted on April 11, 2015 on the History Channel. The documentary is only available in the U.S., but it will reach the international audience at a later point. Check your local listings for air times and availability and set your recording devices!