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There are locks at each end to lift ships up to Gatun Lake, an artificial lake created to reduce the amount of excavation work required for the canal, 26 m (85 ft) above sea level, and then lower the ships at the other end. A third, wider lane of locks was constructed between September 2007 and May 2016.
The expanded canal began commercial operation on June 26, 2016.
The United States took over the project in 1904 and opened the canal on August 15, 1914.
One of the largest and most difficult engineering projects ever undertaken, the Panama Canal shortcut greatly reduced the time for ships to travel between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, enabling them to avoid the lengthy, hazardous Cape Horn route around the southernmost tip of South America via the Drake Passage or Strait of Magellan. continued to control the canal and surrounding Panama Canal Zone until the 1977 Torrijos–Carter Treaties provided for handover to Panama.
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About the Panama Canal Authority The Panama Canal is run by an autonomous agency of the Government of Panama in charge of managing, operating and maintaining the Panama Canal.
Panama City, Panama, April 13, 2016 - The Panama Canal Authority has produced a video demonstrating in detail how the new Neopanamax locks will operate within the Expanded Panama Canal once inaugurated on Sunday, June 26.
Using a combination of video clips and animation, it visually illustrates a virtual tour of a Neopanamax vessel's transit through the Expanded Canal.
The new locks allow transit of larger, Post-Panamax ships, capable of handling more cargo.
France began work on the canal in 1881 but stopped due to engineering problems and a high worker mortality rate.