Expanding the Panama Canal

In 2006, Panamanians approved a referendum to expand the Panama Canal, doubling its capacity and allowing far larger ships to transit the 100-year-old waterway between the Atlantic and Pacific. Work began in 2007 to raise the capacity of Gatun Lake and build two new sets of locks, which would accommodate ships carrying up to 14,000 containers of freight, tripling the size limit. Sixteen massive steel gates, weighing an average of 3,100 tons each, were built in Italy and shipped to Panama to be installed in the new locks. Eight years and $5.2 billion later, the expansion project is nearing completion. The initial stages of flooding the canals have begun and the projected opening date has been set for April of 2016.

Read more
Hints: View this page full screen. Skip to the next and previous photo by typing j/k or ←/→.

Most Recent

  • Andres Kudacki / AP

    Photos of the Week: World Cup, Plymouth Pilgrim, German Sunlight

    A sunset in the Caribbean, blackouts in Ukrainian cities, a Thanksgiving turkey at the White House, a memorial for the victims of a shooting in Colorado Springs, and much more

  • BackyardProduction / iStockphoto / Getty

    Autumn Colors and Autumn Chill

    One last look at the colorful beauty of this autumn, seen in cities and countryside vistas across the Northern Hemisphere

  • Jim Watson / AFP / Getty

    Photos of the Week: Camel Race, Sea Horse, Illusion Room

    Artwork by Banksy in the ruins of Ukraine, a gaggle of geese in Prague, liberation in Ukraine’s Kherson region, early Christmas decorations in Paris, and much more

  • Alessandro Masiero / Natural Landscape Photography Awards

    Winners of the 2022 Natural Landscape Photography Awards

    Winners and runners-up from this year’s landscape-photography competition