2017 – Construction of Borinquen Dam 1E for the Panama Canal Expansion

James Toose,  Lelio Mejia, Jorge Fernandez

The recently completed Panama Canal Expansion project required construction of a new, 6.7-km-long channel at the Pacific entrance to the Panama Canal, to provide navigation access from the new Post-Panamax locks to the existing Gaillard Cut section of the Canal. The new channel required construction of four new dams adjacent to the existing canal, referred to as Borinquen Dams 1E, 2E, 1W, and 2W. The dams retain Gatun Lake and the Canal waterway approximately 11 m above the level of Miraflores Lake and 27m above the Pacific Ocean.The largest of the dams, Dam 1E, is 2.4km long and up to 30 m high. The dam abuts against Fabiana Hill at the southern end, and against the original Pedro Miguel Locks at the northern end. This paper provides an overview of the key challenges in construction of Dam 1E including the foundation, seepage cut-offs and embankment.

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