Panama City, Panama

The Panama Canal, classified as one of the seven wonders of the modern world by the American Society of Civil Engineers, is one of the most important structures of the 20th Century. The canal revolutionized international logistics, and for the first time in 1914, the Atlantic and Pacific oceans were connected. Commercial globalization has significantly increased the need for maritime transport, and engineers and contractors are working around the clock to increase the canal’s capacity. The Pacific Access Channel, Phase 4 (PAC-4) involves the construction of new locks, and new access channels to the existing canal.

The PAC-4 is the second largest part of the Panama Canal mega project. Early on in the construction, the contractor faced the challenge of forming stepped walls to collect and redirect rainwater. EFCO engineers came up with a great solution using EFCO’s versatile, lightweight HAND-E-FORM® system.

The project consisted of eight different drainage structures in the shape of a “C”, and each unit was stepped above the previous one, resembling a stairway to facilitate drainage. The contractors, working along with EFCO engineers found a solution to take into account the challenges of the environment. Construction took place in a highly wooded area, which limited accessibility for heavy equipment and machinery, including cranes and forklifts. The contractor found the EFCO HAND-E-FORM system lightweight, easy to use with simple mechanics, and a system producing quality concrete finishes.

It was decided that a durable yet light handset form was what they needed to perform the job, and HAND-E-FORM exceeded all expectations. Although the concrete forming crews had never used EFCO HAND-E-FORM, they noted that it was much more versatile and easy to handle than other systems that they had used in the past, and the partnership of contractors were particularly satisfied with the level of service that EFCO offered as part of the complete package.