Last month, students, faculty, administration, and alumni toured the Panama Canal as the university continues its involvement in the canal’s massive expansion project. The Panama Canal Authority (ACP-Autoridad del Canal de Panama) is leading a $5 billion project to double the 100-year-old canal’s capacity with the addition of a third lock. WPI students say the opportunity to work in Panama offers a one-of-a-kind experience.
According to Tahar El-Korchi, civil engineering professor and department head, the trip was an exciting opportunity to see the work on one of the most unique civil engineering projects in the world. “Everyone can appreciate the Panama Canal, but civil engineers appreciate it even more,” he says.
With a WPI project center in Panama and an active alumni group, WPI has a long tradition of project work and local collaboration. The project, which will change the way goods and materials are transported around the world, brings WPI’s work to a new level. Having made several trips to Panama, El-Korchi says this was different. “This time was much bigger than anything we have done in the past,” he says, noting that several collaborations with Panama-based industries got off the ground as well. “This was a very productive trip,” he says. “All kinds of different people came together for a great cause.”