Originally built over 100 years ago, the Panama Canal’s $5.25 billion expansion is nearing its completion. The long-anticipated expansion project will allow some of the world’s largest ships, those carrying as many as 14,000 containers, to make their way through the canal.
One may ask how a project thousands of miles away impacts the construction industry in the United States. The answer is simple: as the Panama Canal prepares for larger ships, so too must the many ports of the United States.
With projects from New York to Miami on the East Coast and Long Beach to Seattle on the West Coast, the American Association of Port Authorities estimates that $46 billion will be spent on port-related improvements through 2016. Projects at the various ports across the country include raising bridges, deepening of harbors and building new and much-larger terminals. Ports are preparing to accept ships that may be twice the size of those previously seen. In addition to the construction at the ports, there are also upgrades to nearby warehouses and railroad facilities, as well as tunnel and highway improvements.
Just like the creation of the original Panama Canal impacted the lives of tens of thousands people many years ago, the expansion of the Panama Canal is having the same impact today.
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