Just as ships from all over the world converge on the Panama Canal, so are construction groups clustering in and around the canal's $5-billion expansion project. The centerpiece of the project—the $3.25-billion third set of locks—is 22% complete, while the Pacific- and Atlantic-side programs are nearing the finish line. Slightly more than four years into the expansion, major lessons have been learned and new precedents set in terms of program management, quality control and construction innovations.
Many of these lessons were presented at the Panama Canal Symposium on April 18-20. Officials there juggled between presentations, networking and the daily tasks of dealing with the canal construction—tasks heightened by the recent notification of Grupos Unidos por El Canal, the locks consortium, of a six-month delay due to concrete-mix problems.