The Panama Canal Authority has opened the bidding process for the last of four dry-excavation contracts for the waterway’s third-lane expansion. The dry excavation is needed to create a 6.7-km link between the existing navigational channel at the entrance to the Gaillard Cut, the canal’s narrowest stretch, as well as the new set of locks yet to be constructed. Last month, that $3.1-billion contract was won by an international team of contractors and design firms, Grupo Unidos por el Canal, led by Spanish contractor Sacyr Vallehermoso S.A. The upcoming excavation contract represents more than half the total works needed for the access channel. It will require removal of 27 cu meters of material and construction of a pair of dams to separate the new channel from the Miraflores Lake, which is part of the existing canal passage. Technical proposals for the work are due at the end of August, with price proposals due Oct. 30. Jorge L. Quijano, authority executive vice president of engineering and program management, says expansion work “remains on track and on budget.”