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Facts

  • First earth broken by French January 1, 1880
  • Active work started by the French January 20, 1882
  • Excavation by French (cubic yards)  78,146,906
  • · Excavation by French useful to present Canal (cubic yards)  29,908,000
  • Amount of money spent by the French $260,000,000
  • Number of lives lost during French control 20,000
  • Amount United States paid French for their rights and property $40,000,000
  • Canal Zone acquired by U.S. from Panama by treaty February 23, 1904
  • Amount United States paid Panama for Canal Zone $10,000,000
  • Rental paid by U.S. to Panama beginning in 1913 per annum $250,000
  • Work began by the United States May 4, 1904
  • First ship through the Canal September 26, 1913
  • Date of official opening August 15, 1914
  • Name of first official ship S.S. Ancon
  • A boat traveling from New York to San Francisco saves 7,872 miles by using the Panama Canal instead of going around Cape Horn.
  • Canal Zone in square miles 436
  • Length of Canal from Atlantic to Pacific 51 miles
  • Width of the Canal Zone 10 miles
  • Time to transit Canal 8-10 hours
  • Number of ships crossing daily 40
  • Number of ships crossing each year 12-15 thousand
  • The highest toll paid for a transit through the Panama Canal until 1995 paid by the Crown Princess on May 2, 1993; it was US$141,349.97.
  • The lowest toll paid was US$ 0.36 and was paid by Richard Halliburton who crossed the Canal swimming in 1928.
  • The San Juan Prospector was the longest ship to transit the Canal; it was 751 ft. (229 m.) in length with a 107 ft. (32.6 m.) beam.
  • The Hydrofoil Pegasus of the United States Navy did the fastest transit of the Canal by completing it in 2 hours and 41 minutes.
  • Each door of the locks weights 750 tons
  • Time of passage through locks 3 hours
  • Maximum bottom width of the channel 1000 feet
  • Minimum bottom width of the channel at Culebra Cut 300 feet
  • Number of locks in pairs 12
  • Locks, usable length 1000 feet
  • Locks, usable width 164 square miles
  • Amount of water filling each lock 52 million gallons
  • Gatun Lake (area)  164 square miles
  • Gatun Lake is at a nominal 85 feet above the Pacific Level
  • The draft of vessels using the canal is limited to 40 feet when the lake is at 85 feet.
  • The channels are maintained to a depth greater than 40 feet to a nominal 45 foot depth.
  • Some areas in Gatun Lake where the old Chagres River channel ran are considerably deeper than 45 feet.
  • During periods of heavy rainfall and there is a surplus of was, Gatun Lake is maintained at a level of not greater than 87 feet.
  • Gatun Lake level is controlled at the Gatun Dam both through a hydropower generating plant and over spillways at the dam.
  • During periods of sparse rainfall, Gatun Lake is maintained to the 85 foot by releasing water through Madden Dam flowing down the Chagres River to where it meets the lake at Gamboa.
  • There have been occasions of extremely dry weather (low rainfall) where it has become impossible to maintain the 85 foot level. During those relatively rare occasions, it has been necessary to limit the draft of transiting vessels.
  • In the case of bulk carriers operating at maximum drafts, the canal gives two weeks notice of any draft restrictions, thereby allowing the ships to compensate for the draft limitation.
  • Gatun Lake (normal surface level above sea level)  85 feet
  • Culebra Cut (channel depth)  45 feet
  • Amount of excavation by Americans in cubic yards 232,353,000
  • Total concrete for canal in cubic yards 5,000,000
  • Weight of 1 cubic yard of concrete 1.5 tons
  • Estimated cost of the Panama Canal built by U.S.  $375,000,000
  • Toll charge for Disney Magic cruise ship in 2008 $313,200
  • Tide on the Pacific side 20 feet
  • Tide on the Atlantic side 2.5 feet
  • Average rainfall on Atlantic side 130 inches
  • Average rainfall on Pacific side 70 inches
  • Estimated cost for expansion of the Panama Canal $5.25 billion
  • Estimated year of completion of expansion 2014


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