Photo of the Week
March 2, 2008 

I posted this photo back on July 10, 2005 and am posting it again this week with more information and new photos.  On my recent trip to Panama , I visited this area to see if the old foundations were still there.  Sure enough, they were.  Click on the little yellow arrows to see the photos.  

As I wrote back on July 10, 2005, this and the Miraflores plants were never used because of WWII.  The Miraflores plant was located next to the excavated Third Locks chamber as to have close access to the basalt rock that was excavated from the excavated chamber.  I will post a photo of this rock crusher at a latter date.  I remember parts of the old rock crusher were still there in the 1970s.  When you read the information below, you will see the problems that began arising because of the war.  

I recent found some new information about this old Aggregate Plant in a August 1944 Special Engineering Division publication called United States – The Panama Canal Third Locks Project – Final Report on Modified Third Locks Project – Part 1 – General”.  

Under Contracts:
4. “Processing Concrete Aggregates for Third Locks Project.”
Contract No. PClp-623.
Contractor: Nevada Constructors, Inc.
Amount; $6,880.800.000  Earnings:  $2,443,943.33
Bids Opened: September 10, 1941   Contract dated: September 29, 1941
Work Completed (As modified): October 27, 1942.  

The work to be done was the processing of approximately 9,000,000 tons of Chagres River aggregate at Gamboa and about 2,500,000 tons of basalt at the new Miraflores Locks site, and the loading of about 7,200,000 tons and 740,000 tons of these aggregates, respectively, onto barges for delivery by the Government.  The processing of Chagres material required the furnishing, erection, and operation of a plant to reclaim from raw storage, wash, screen, stock-pile and load aggregates; the sand in two sizes, the gravel in three  sizes, and the rock in two sizes.  The processing of the basalt required the furnishing, erection, and operation of a plant to reclaim the material previously crushed to six inches from storage, wash, re-crush, screen, stock-pile, and load onto barges. The maximum daily demand for sand and gravel was placed at 20,000 tons and for crushed rock at 9000 tons (4,000 tons to Gatun).  The contract was modified, when construction was suspended, to provide fro the substantial completion of the plants except for certain equipment to be placed in storage.

Under Operations and Schedules:

200. Concrete Aggregates.  The existing facilities of The Panama Canal and the necessity for coordinating barge movements with other ship transits made it desirable for The Panama Canal to supply the raw Chagres aggregates by its dredges for processing and to deliver the aggregates by barge from both Gamboa and Miraflores and required.  The use of the Chagres aggregate supply will require the transit of barges, tugs, and other equipment through the railroad and highway bridge at Gamboa which is no “fixed”.  Due to the excessive price on bid and to the time involved in making a movable span to transit barges and equipment, a plan was adopted for shuttling barges, either in water ballast or loaded, under the span.  A part of the fender system for such operation has been placed.  However, with a return to normalcy in the steel fabricating industry, it is probable that the adopted plan should be abandoned and the movable bridge plan restored.  It is estimated that the movable bridge will not only provide greater safety and economy in operation of the barges but will facilitate the transit of other equipment which is now passed by the removal of an 80-foot fixed span.  

201. The final processing of aggregates is planned for a contract operation.  The plants required for such processing have been substantially completed under a previous contact.  However, many important items such as shovels, power plant, and pumps; and minor parts such as screens, motors, and valves, have been released to others in the war effort and other items will be released in the future.  As a consequence, a careful inventory will be required immediately prior to resumption.  It is probably that the diesel power supply originally installed but later sold will not require replacement.  

202. The transportation of aggregates will require a number of barges and tugs.  In 1942, there were sixteen 1,000-cubic-yard barges under construction for this service.  This equipment was released to another war agency and it will have to be replaced.  It is probable that the tugs now on hand, which were purchased for this service and for dredging, will be adequate.


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