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Wykeham Farrance International


Recently completed widening of the narrowest part of the Panama Canal was supported by soils testing equipment from Wykeham Farrance International.

Two ring shear machines have been used in the Panama Canal Company's soils laboratory since 1995 to develop shear strength models for slopes in the Culebra Cut Widening Programme.

The project involved widening 12.5km of canal from 152m to 192m along straight stretches and up to 222m on curves. Most of the excavation was in rock and slate.

Wykeham Farrance's apparatus helped speed up work, which finished a year ahead of schedule and at half the estimated cost of $600M (£386M).

Canal operating capacity has risen 20% and now two Panamax-type vessels - the largest the canal can accommodate - can pass each other in the cut.

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