January-February 2017

High-Stakes Erosion Control on the Panama Canal

High-Stakes Erosion Control on the Panama Canal

Every erosion control project is mission critical, but the Panama Canal expansion project, completed in June 2016, is arguably in a class by itself, given the scale of the undertaking and the waterway’s strategic importance to international commerce. The dirt-and-rock slopes created from the dredging of nearly 50 million cubic meters (65,400,000 million cubic yards) of underwater material during the construction had to be stabilized to prevent sediment runoff into the canal and new locks. Failure would lead to environmental violations and a costly cleanup to keep the canal waters clear.

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EC January February 2017 cover

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