During the last quarter of the year, the Miraflores Spillway, located on the Pacific side of the Panama Canal, was refurbished. A crew of 15 employees from the Infrastructure and Civil Works Maintenance Division (INO) and the Floating and Industrial Equipment Maintenance Section (INMF) are exclusively dedicated to reconditioning the gate components.
On the morning of November 26, work was carried out on two of the eight gates that make up the Miraflores Spillway. After reconditioning, the team set about testing the opening and closing of gates M1 and M2. A bulkhead allows the test to be carried out without spilling water and also allows personnel to work freely on the gate, assembling and disassembling different elements.
On salvage barge #3, the team is assembled under the watchful eye of mechanical engineer José Ovidio Rojas and foreman José Bonilla. The work consists of repairing and maintaining the mechanisms so that they are in optimal condition in case they have to resort to controlled water spills during the rainy season.
Rojas and his colleagues want to be absolutely sure that the mechanism is working properly, since the rains of the season have not stopped, and the La Niña phenomenon has been forecast for the following months.
Fortunately, the tests on both gates were successful, and the team is satisfied with the start of Fiscal Year 2022 with the Gate and Spillway Maintenance Program.
Spillway maintenance occurs in sequence. Thus, the Miraflores spillway has its scheduled shift within the Flood Control Program, which begins on October 1 of this year and ends on January 30 of next year.
In Gatun, the reconditioning works have two annual schedules: from February to March, and from August to September; while that of Madden (Alhajuela) is carried out between April and July.
“It is a source of pride for me to know that we contribute to the transit of ships through the Canal. In the worst of the Covid-19 pandemic, we were working and the Canal never stopped, and that fills us with pride.” Freddy De León, lathe mechanic
The work of each of these Canal workers: the mechanical engineer in charge of the works, the foreman, even the lathe mechanic, electrician, crane operator, welder, painter and rigger, all have equal importance for the operation of the Canal. They know this and are proud of the contribution they make to ensure that these 100 year old structures operate efficiently and safely.