The Panama Canal Authority (ACP) awarded Constructora MECO, S.A. the third of four dry excavation contracts on Dec. 16 to help create an access channel linking the new Pacific locks with the Canal’s existing Gaillard Cut (the narrowest stretch of the Panama Canal).
The contracting process began September 30, 2008 when the ACP released its request for proposals (RFP) for the excavation project. On December 4, 2008, the ACP received a total of six bids for the contract. Following a thorough review, the ACP determined that the lowest bidder, Costa Rican firm Constructora MECO, S.A., established in Panama in 1995, met all the requirements in the RFP and awarded it the contract.
“This pivotal step in the process to build the new lane represents just one more example of the Expansion Program’s steady advancement. Constructora MECO, S.A. is a leading construction company in Latin America with expertise in the execution of the same type of work that they will undertake here,” said Executive Vice President of Engineering and Program Management Jorge L. Quijano. “The interest shown for the Canal expansion’s various elements is clear evidence that prime contractors desire to make history and work on a very interesting project.”
The scope of work included in the contract encompasses the excavation, removal and disposal of 10.5 million cubic yards of material, which will further reduce Paraíso (Paradise) Hill from 151 ft to 90 ft above sea level. It also calls for the construction of approximately 1.5 miles of access roads and the clearing of 469.5 acres of land bearing munitions and explosives of consideration (MEC), remnants from former U.S. military training in Panama.
Expansion will build a new lane of traffic along the Panama Canal through the construction of a new set of locks which will double capacity and allow more traffic and longer, wider ships.