The Suez Canal : The Engineering Problems Of The Panama Canal

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There were many engineering problems that had to be overcome in order for the canal to be functional, including: varying land elevations, marshy ground, a difference in sea levels on different sides of the canal, designing a lock system to raise the ships, and many more. The original plan for the canal was to build it at sea level like the Suez Canal but that idea was scrapped after the original chief engineer John Wallace resigned and a railroad specialist by the name of John Stevens took the reins and explained to President Roosevelt that a lock canal would be best due to the threat of landslides(history). In order for the Panama Canal to be as efficient as possible, there needed to be multiple sets of locks that raised and lowered the ships on both ends of the canal due to the man-made lake that is located in the center of the canal being about 26 meters higher than the oceans that feed in to the canal. One of the most difficult areas in the building process was what was called the Culebra Cut. The Culebra Cut stretched about 8.5 miles in length and the height at which the excavation began on this section in 1904 was 193ft. above sea level (Taylor, 998). This section of the canal had plans to be approximately 74ft. wide when the French were hashing out their plans, but when the Americans took over the width of the section was increased to 300ft. this proved to be incredibly difficult due to unforeseen issues such as excessive rainfalls, and multiple landslides which would

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