[Before and after images of the "removal of De Lesseps Island as part of the works for widening and deepening the navigational channels in Culebra Cut and Gatun Lake, for safer Post-Panamax vessel transits through the new channel. The removal of this island will allow straight-course navigation in this area"]
As part of the Panama Canal Expansion Project, somewhere around 100 million cubic meters of terrestrial and aquatic earth is being dislodged and relocated. The guesstimate of that total quantity – a sum of the Pacific and Atlantic works and the freshwater areas in between – is a bit tenuous, as the figures we came across vary (we would love to know if anyone has more definitive numbers). Further compounding the accuracy of that amount are the contingencies in the modeled volumes. Of note, the first construction of the Panama canal required four times the original earth moving estimates to complete.
The expansion project site has a collection of before and after images of some of these geo-accelerated landscapes. Specific instances, such as the removal of Paraiso Hill (images below), requiring the removal of 7.3 million cubic meters, make the massive scale of the entire earthworks more tangible.
[Leveling of Paraiso Hill from 136 meters to 46 meters above sea level.]
[view of (the former) Paraiso Hill from Louisa Hill]
["Construction of the 58-cell cofferdam. This cofferdam will separate the waters from the existing channel in Miraflores and the new channel to allow the dry construction of Borinquen 1E dam, under Phase 4 of the Pacific Access Channel Project."]
["Dry excavation of around 8 million cubic meters of material under the Pacific Access Channel Project, Phase 3. This channel will connect the new Post-Panamax locks on the Pacific Side with the Culebra Cut."]