The size of the locks determines the maximum size ship that can pass through. Because of the importance of the canal to international trade, many ships are built to the maximum size allowed. These are known as "Panamax vessels. A Panamax cargo ship typically has a "deadweight tonnage (DWT) of 65,000–80,000 "tonnes, but its actual cargo is restricted to about 52,500 tonnes because of the 12.6 m (41.2 ft) "draft restrictions within the canal. The longest ship ever to transit the canal was the San Juan Prospector (now Marcona Prospector), an "ore-bulk-oil carrier that is 296.57 m (973 ft) long with a beam of 32.31 m (106 ft).
Initially the locks at Gatun were designed to be 28.5 m (94 ft) wide. In 1908, the "United States Navy requested that an increased width of at least 36 m (118 ft) to allow the passage of U.S. Naval ships. Eventually a compromise was made and the locks were built 33.53 m (110.0 ft) wide. Each lock is 320 m (1,050 ft) long, with the walls ranging in thickness from 15 m (49 ft) at the base to 3 m (9.8 ft) at the top. The central wall between the parallel locks at Gatun is 18 m (59 ft) thick and over 24 m (79 ft) high. The steel lock gates measure an average of 2 m (6.6 ft) thick, 19.5 m (64 ft) wide, and 20 m (66 ft) high. It is the size of the locks, specifically the Pedro Miguel Locks, along with the height of the "Bridge of the Americas at Balboa, that determine the Panamax metric and limit the size of ships that may use the canal.
The 2006 "third set of locks project has created larger locks, allowing bigger ships to transit through deeper and wider channels. The allowed dimensions of ships using these locks increased by 25% in length, 51% in beam, and 26% in draft, as defined by "New Panamax metrics.
Tolls for the canal are set by the "Panama Canal Authority and are based on vessel type, size, and the type of cargo.
For "container ships, the toll is assessed on the ship's capacity expressed in "twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs), one TEU being the size of a standard "intermodal shipping container. Effective April 1, 2016, this toll went from US$74.00 per loaded container to $60.00 per TEU capacity plus $30.00 per loaded container for a potential $90 per TEU when the ship is full. A Panamax container ship may carry up to 4,400 "TEU. The toll is calculated differently for passenger ships and for container ships carrying no cargo ("in ballast"). As of April 1, 2016[update], the ballast rate is US$60.00, down from US$65.60 per TEU.
Passenger vessels in excess of 30,000 tons (PC/UMS), known popularly as "cruise ships, pay a rate based on the number of berths, that is, the number of passengers that can be accommodated in permanent beds. The per-berth charge since April 1, 2016 is $111 for unoccupied berths and $138 for occupied berths in the Panamax locks. Started in 2007, this fee has greatly increased the tolls for such ships. Passenger vessels of less than 30,000 tons or less than 33 tons per passenger are charged according to the same per-ton schedule as are freighters. Almost all major cruise ships have more than 33 tons per passenger; the rule of thumb for cruise line comfort is generally given as a minimum of 40 tons per passenger.
Most other types of vessel pay a toll per "PC/UMS net ton, in which one "ton" is actually a volume of 100 cubic feet (2.83 m3). (The calculation of "tonnage for commercial vessels is quite complex.) As of fiscal year 2016[update], this toll is US$5.25 per ton for the first 10,000 tons, US$5.14 per ton for the next 10,000 tons, and US$5.06 per ton thereafter. As with container ships, reduced tolls are charged for freight ships "in ballast", $4.19, $4.12, $4.05 respectively.
On 1 April 2016 a more complicated toll system was introduced, having the neopanamax locks at a higher rate in some cases, natural gas transport as a new separate category and other changes. Small (less than 125 ft) vessels up to 583 PC/UMS net tons when carrying passengers or cargo, or up to 735 PC/UMS net tons when in ballast, or up to 1,048 fully loaded displacement tons, are assessed minimum tolls based upon their "length overall, according to the following table (as of 29 April 2015):
|Length of vessel||Toll|
|Up to 15.240 meters (50 ft)||US$800|
|More than 15.240 meters (50 ft) up to 24.384 meters (80 ft)||US$1,300|
|More than 24.384 meters (80 ft) up to 30.480 meters (100 ft)||US$2,000|
|More than 30.480 meters (100 ft)||US$3,200
Morgan Adams of Los Angeles, California, holds the distinction of paying the first toll received by the United States Government for the use of the Panama Canal by a pleasure boat. His boat Lasata passed through the Zone on August 14, 1914. The crossing occurred during a 6,000-mile sea voyage from Jacksonville, Florida, to Los Angeles in 1914.
The most expensive regular toll for canal passage to date was charged on April 14, 2010 to the cruise ship "Norwegian Pearl, which paid US$375,600. The average toll is around US$54,000. The highest fee for priority passage charged through the "Transit Slot Auction System was US$220,300, paid on August 24, 2006, by the Panamax "tanker Erikoussa, bypassing a 90-ship queue waiting for the end of maintenance work on the "Gatun Locks, and thus avoiding a seven-day delay. The normal fee would have been just US$13,430.
The lowest toll ever paid was 36 cents, by American "Richard Halliburton who swam the Panama Canal in 1928.
Issues leading to expansion
In the 100 years since its opening, the canal continues to enjoy great success. Even though world shipping—and the size of ships themselves—has changed markedly since the canal was designed, it continues to be a vital link in world trade, carrying more cargo than ever before, with fewer overhead costs.["citation needed] Nevertheless, the canal faces a number of potential concerns.
Efficiency and maintenance
Opponents to the 1977 "Torrijos-Carter Treaties feared that efficiency and maintenance would suffer following the U.S. withdrawal from the Panama Canal Zone; however, this has been proven not to be the case. Capitalizing on practices developed during the American administration, canal operations are improving under Panamanian control. Canal Waters Time (CWT), the average time it takes a vessel to navigate the canal, including waiting time, is a key measure of efficiency; according to the ACP, since 2000, it has ranged between 20 and 30 hours. The accident rate has also not changed appreciably in the past decade, varying between 10 and 30 accidents each year from about 14,000 total annual transits. An official accident is one in which a formal investigation is requested and conducted.
Increasing volumes of imports from "Asia, which previously landed on U.S. West Coast ports, are now passing through the canal to the American East Coast. The total number of ocean-going transits increased from 11,725 in 2003 to 13,233 in 2007, falling to 12,855 in 2009. (The canal's fiscal year runs from October through September.) This has been coupled with a steady rise in average ship size and in the numbers of Panamax vessels passing through the canal, so that the total tonnage carried rose from 227.9 million "PC/UMS tons in fiscal year 1999 to a then record high of 312.9 million tons in 2007, and falling to 299.1 million tons in 2009. Tonnage for fiscal 2013, 2014 and 2015 was 320.6, 326.8 and 340.8 million PC/UMS tons carried on 13,660, 13,481 and 13,874 transits respectively. The "Panama Canal Authority (ACP) has invested nearly US$1 billion in widening and modernizing the canal, with the aim of increasing capacity by 20%. The ACP cites a number of major improvements, including the widening and straightening of the Gaillard Cut to reduce restrictions on passing vessels, the deepening of the navigational channel in Gatun Lake to reduce draft restrictions and improve water supply, and the deepening of the Atlantic and Pacific entrances to the canal. This is supported by new equipment, such as a new drill barge and suction dredger, and an increase of the "tug boat fleet by 20%. In addition, improvements have been made to the canal's operating machinery, including an increased and improved tug locomotive fleet, the replacement of more than 16 km (10 mi) of locomotive track, and new lock machinery controls. Improvements have been made to the traffic management system to allow more efficient control over ships in the canal.
In December 2010, record-breaking rains caused a 17-hour closure of the canal; this was the first closure since the "United States invasion of Panama in 1989. The rains also caused an access road to the Centenario Bridge to collapse.
The canal is currently handling more vessel traffic than had ever been envisioned by its builders. In 1934 it was estimated that the maximum capacity of the canal would be around 80 million tons per year; as noted above, canal traffic in 2015 reached 340.8 million tons of shipping.
To improve capacity, a number of improvements have been made to the current canal system. These improvements aim to maximize the possible use of current locking system:
- Implementation of an enhanced locks lighting system;
- Construction of two tie-up stations in Gaillard Cut;
- Widening Gaillard Cut from 192 to 218 meters (630 to 715 ft);
- Improvements to the tugboat fleet;
- Implementation of the carousel lockage system in Gatun locks;
- Development of an improved vessel scheduling system;
- Deepening of Gatun Lake navigational channels from 10.4 to 11.3 meters (34 to 37 ft) PLD;
- Modification of all locks structures to allow an additional draft of about 0.30 meters (1 ft);
- Deepening of the Pacific and Atlantic entrances;
- Construction of a new spillway in Gatun, for flood control.
These improvements enlarged the capacity from 300 million PCUMS (2008) to 340 PCUMS (2012). It should be noted that these improvements were started before the new locks project, and are complementary to it.
Despite having enjoyed a privileged position for many years, the canal is increasingly facing competition from other quarters. Because canal tolls have risen as ships have become larger, some critics have suggested that the "Suez Canal is now a viable alternative for cargo en route from Asia to the U.S. East Coast. The Panama Canal, however, continues to serve more than 144 of the world's trade routes and the majority of canal traffic comes from the "all-water route" from Asia to the U.S. East and Gulf Coasts.["citation needed]
On June 15, 2013, Nicaragua awarded the Hong Kong-based HKND Group a 50-year concession to develop a "canal through the country.
The increasing rate of melting of ice in the "Arctic Ocean has led to speculation that the "Northwest Passage or "Arctic Bridge may become viable for commercial shipping at some point in the future. This route would save 9,300 km (5,800 mi) on the route from Asia to Europe compared with the Panama Canal, possibly leading to a diversion of some traffic to that route. However, such a route is beset by unresolved territorial issues and would still hold significant problems owing to ice.
Gatun Lake is filled with rainwater, and the lake accumulates excess water during wet months. The water is lost to the oceans at a rate of 101,000 m3 (26,700,000 US gal; 22,200,000 imp gal) per downward lock cycle. Since a ship will have to go upward to Gatun Lake first and then descend, a single passing will cost double the amount; but the same waterflow cycle can be used for another ship passing in the opposite direction. The ship's submerged volume is not relevant to this amount of water. During the "dry season, when there is less rainfall, there is also a shortfall of water in Gatun Lake.["citation needed]
As a signatory to the "United Nations "Global Compact and member of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, the ACP has developed an environmentally and socially sustainable program for expansion, which will protect the aquatic and terrestrial resources of the canal watershed. After completion, expansion will guarantee the availability and quality of "water resources by using water-saving basins at each new lock. These water-saving basins will diminish water loss and preserve freshwater resources along the waterway by reusing water from the basins into the locks. Each lock chamber will have three water-saving basins, which will reuse 60% of the water in each transit. There are a total of nine basins for each of the two lock complexes, and a total of 18 basins for the entire project.["citation needed]
The mean sea level at the Pacific side is about 20 cm (8 in) higher than that of the Atlantic side due to differences in ocean conditions such as water densities and weather.
Third set of locks project
As demand is rising for efficient global shipping of goods, the canal is positioned to be a significant feature of world shipping for the foreseeable future. However, changes in shipping patterns —particularly the increasing numbers of larger-than-Panamax ships— necessitated changes to the canal for it to retain a significant "market share. In 2006 it was anticipated that by 2011, 37% of the world's container ships would be too large for the present canal, and hence a failure to expand would result in a significant loss of market share. The maximum sustainable capacity of the original canal, given some relatively minor improvement work, was estimated at 340 million PC/UMS tons per year; it was anticipated that this capacity would be reached between 2009 and 2012. Close to 50% of transiting vessels were already using the full width of the locks.
An enlargement scheme similar to the 1939 "Third Lock Scheme, to allow for a greater number of transits and the ability to handle larger ships, had been under consideration for some time, was approved by the government of Panama, The cost was estimated at US$5.25 billion, and the expansion allowed to double the canal's capacity, allowing more traffic and the passage of longer and wider "Post-Panamax ships. The proposal to expand the canal was approved in a "national referendum by about 80% on October 22, 2006. The canal expansion was built between 2007 and 2016, though completion was originally expected by the end of 2014.
The expansion plan had two new flights of locks built parallel to, and operated in addition to, the old locks: one east of the existing Gatun locks, and one southwest of the Miraflores locks, each supported by approach channels. Each flight ascends from sea level directly to the level of Gatun Lake; the existing two-stage ascent at Miraflores and Pedro Miguel locks was not replicated. The new lock chambers feature sliding gates, doubled for safety, and are 427 m (1,400 ft) long, 55 m (180 ft) wide, and 18.3 m (60 ft) deep. This allows the transit of vessels with a beam of up to 49 m (160 ft), an overall length of up to 366 m (1,200 ft) and a draft of up to 15 m (49 ft), equivalent to a container ship carrying around 12,000 containers, each 6.1 m (20 ft) in length (TEU).
The new locks are supported by new approach channels, including a 6.2 km (3.9 mi) channel at Miraflores from the locks to the Gaillard Cut, skirting Miraflores Lake. Each of these channels are 218 m (720 ft) wide, which will require post-Panamax vessels to navigate the channels in one direction at a time. The Gaillard Cut and the channel through Gatun Lake were widened to at least 280 m (920 ft) on the straight portions and at least 366 m (1,200 ft) on the bends. The maximum level of Gatun Lake was raised from 26.7 m (88 ft) to 27.1 m (89 ft).
Each flight of locks is accompanied by nine water reutilization basins (three per lock chamber), each basin being about 70 m (230 ft) wide, 430 m (1,400 ft) long and 5.50 m (18 ft) deep. These gravity-fed basins allow 60% of the water used in each transit to be reused; the new locks consequently use 7% less water per transit than each of the existing lock lanes. The deepening of Gatun Lake and the raising of its maximum water level also provide capacity for significantly more water storage. These measures are intended to allow the expanded canal to operate without constructing new reservoirs.
The estimated cost of the project is US$5.25 billion. The project was designed to allow for an anticipated growth in traffic from 280 million PC/UMS tons in 2005 to nearly 510 million PC/UMS tons in 2025. The expanded canal will have a maximum sustainable capacity of about 600 million PC/UMS tons per year. Tolls will continue to be calculated based on vessel tonnage, and in some cases depend on the locks used.
An article in the February 2007 issue of Popular Mechanics magazine described the plans for the canal expansion, focusing on the engineering aspects of the expansion project. There is also a follow-up article in the February 2010 issue of Popular Mechanics.
On September 3, 2007, thousands of "Panamanians stood across from "Paraíso Hill in Panama to witness a huge initial "explosion and launch of the Expansion Program. The first phase of the project was the dry "excavations of the 218 meters (715 feet) wide "trench connecting the Gaillard Cut with the "Pacific coast, removing 47 million cubic meters of earth and rock. By June 2012, a 30 m "reinforced concrete monolith had been completed, the first of 46 such monoliths which will line the new Pacific-side lock walls. By early July 2012, however, it was announced that the canal expansion project had fallen six months behind schedule, leading expectations for the expansion to open in April 2015 rather than October 2014, as originally planned. By September 2014, the new gates were projected to be open for transit at the "beginning of 2016."
It was announced in July 2009 that the Belgian dredging company "Jan De Nul, together with a consortium of contractors consisting of the Spanish "Sacyr Vallehermoso, the Italian "Impregilo, and the Panamanian company Grupo Cusa, had been awarded the contract to build the six new locks for US$3.1 billion, which was one billion less than the next highest competing bid due to having a concrete budget 71% percent smaller than that of the next bidder and allotted roughly 25% less for steel to reinforce that concrete. The contract resulted in $100 million in dredging works over the next few years for the Belgian company and a great deal of work for its construction division. The design of the locks is a carbon copy of the "Berendrecht Lock, which is 68 m wide and 500 m long, making it the largest lock in the world. Completed in 1989 by the "Port of Antwerp, which De Nul helped build, the company still has engineers and specialists who were part of that project.
In January 2014, a contract dispute threatened the progress of the project. There was a delay of less than two months however, with work by the consortium members reaching goals by June 2014.
In June 2015, flooding of the new locks began: first on the Atlantic side, then on the Pacific; by then, the canal's re-inauguration was slated for April 2016. On March 23, 2016, the expansion inauguration was set for June 26, 2016.
The new locks opened for commercial traffic on 26 June 2016, and the first ship to cross the canal using the third set of locks was a modern "New Panamax vessel, the Chinese-owned container ship Cosco Shipping Panama. The original locks, now over 100 years old, allow engineers greater access for maintenance, and are projected to continue operating indefinitely.
The total cost is unknown since the expansion's contractors are seeking at least an addition US$3.4 billion from the canal authority due to excess expenses.
China is investigating a proposal to construct a 220 km (137 mi) railway between Colombia's Pacific and Caribbean coasts.
Rival Nicaragua canal
On July 7, 2014, Wang Jing, chairman of the HK Nicaragua Canal Development Investment Co. Ltd. (HKND Group) advised that a route for Nicaragua's proposed canal had been approved. The construction work began in December 2014 and is projected by HKND to take 5 years. The Nicaraguan parliament approved plans for the 173-mile canal through Nicaragua. According to the deal, the company will be responsible for operating and maintaining the canal for a 50-year period. The government of Nicaragua hopes this will boost the economy; the opposition is concerned with its environmental impact. Hundreds of thousands of local residents will be displaced by the canal and nearly a million acres of delicate ecosystems will be destroyed by the time construction is completed in early 2019.
Individuals, companies, and governments have explored the possibility of constructing deep water ports and rail links connecting coasts as a "dry canal" in Guatemala, Costa Rica, and El Salvador/Honduras. However, plans to construct these sea-rail-sea links have yet to materialize.
Panama Canal Honorary Pilots
During the last one hundred years, the Panama Canal Authority has appointed a few "Panama Canal Honorary Pilots." The most recent of these were Commodore Ronald Warwick, a former "Master of the "Cunard Liners "RMS Queen Elizabeth 2 and "RMS Queen Mary 2, who has traversed the Canal more than 50 times, and Captain Raffaele Minotauro, an Unlimited Master Senior Grade, of the former Italian governmental navigation company known as the ""Italian Line."
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- Dredging News Online (29 August 2014). "Panama Canal Authority updates Maersk Line on expansion programme". Dredging News Online. Retrieved 2 September 2014.
- Dredging News Online (1 September 2014). "Panama Canal Authority updates Maersk Line on expansion programme". Hellenic Shipping News. Retrieved 2 September 2014.
- Panama Canal Authority (20 August 2014). "Panama Canal Updates Maersk Line on Expansion Program". Retrieved 3 September 2014.
- Smith, Bruce (9 Sep 2014). "Maritime panel to hold sessions on port congestion". Charlotte Observer. Retrieved 11 Sep 2014.
- "De Nul dredging company to build locks in Panama Canal". Flanders Today. 2009-07-17.
- "Contract dispute jeopardizes Panama Canal schedule". American Shipper. January 2, 2014. Retrieved 10 January 2014.
- Lomi Kriel; Elida Moreno (January 8, 2014). "Panama Canal refuses to pay $1 billion more for expansion work". Reuters. Retrieved 10 January 2014.
- Panama Canal Authority (20 February 2014). "Panama Canal New Locks Project Works Resume". Retrieved 2014-06-16.
- Panama Canal Authority (10 June 2014). "Second Shipment of new gates arrive at the Panama Canal". Retrieved 2014-06-16.
- Panama Canal Authority (11 June 2015). "Panama Canal Expansion Begins Filling of New Locks". Retrieved 12 June 2015.
- Stone, Kathryn (10 June 2015). "Flooding of Expanded Panama Canal Begins". The Maritime Executive.
- Panama Canal Authority (22 June 2015). "Panama Canal Expansion Moves Ahead with Filling of New Pacific Locks". Retrieved 1 July 2015.
- Panama Canal Authority (23 March 2016). "Panama Canal Inaugurates Scale Model Training Facility, Announces Expansion Inauguration Date". Retrieved 4 April 2016.
- WALT BOGDANICH, JACQUELINE WILLIAMS and ANA GRACIELA MÉNDEZ (JUNE 22, 2016) The New Panama Canal: A Risky Bet The New York Times, Retrieved 24 June 2016.
- John Paul Rathbone, Naomi Mapstone (2011-02-13). "China in talks over Panama Canal rival". Financial Times. Retrieved 2011-02-14.
- Wheatley, Jonathan (2011-02-14). "Colombia's smart canal". Financial Times. Retrieved 2011-02-14.
- "China in talk with Columbia over transcontinental railway: Colombian president". Xinhuanet. 2011-02-14. Retrieved 2011-02-14.
- Branigan, Tania and Lin Yi. China goes on the rails to rival Panama canal "The Guardian, 14 February 2011. Accessed: 14 February 2011.
- "Nicaragua launches construction of inter-oceanic canal". "BBC. December 23, 2014. Retrieved January 9, 2015.
- "A Chinese company wants to build a new canal in America (news in Estonian)". Postimees. 15 June 2013. Retrieved 8 October 2014.
- Shaer, Matthew. "A New Canal Through Central America Could Have Devastating Consequences". smithsonianmag.com.
- Van Marle, Gavin (July 2013). "Canal mania hits central America with three more Atlantic-Pacific projects". The Load Star.
- "Buckingham First Day Covers". Internet Stamps Group Limited. Retrieved 8 October 2014.
Construction and technical issues
- Brodhead, Michael J. 2012. "The Panama Canal: Writings of the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers Officers Who Conceived and Built It." U.S. Army Corps of Engineers History Office, Alexandria, VA.
- Hoffman, Jon T.; Brodhead, Michael J; Byerly, Carol R.; Williams, Glenn F. (2009). The Panama Canal: An Army's Enterprise. Washington, D.C.: "United States Army Center of Military History. 70–115–1.
- Jaen, Omar. (2005). Las Negociaciones de los Tratados Torrijos-Carter, 1970–1979 (Tomos 1 y 2). Panama: Autoridad del Canal de Panama. "ISBN 9962-607-32-9 (Obra completa)
- Jorden, William J. (1984). Panama Odyssey. 746 pages, illustrated. Austin: "University of Texas Press. "ISBN 0-292-76469-3
- McCullough, David (1977), The Path Between the Seas: The Creation of the Panama Canal, 1870–1914, New York: Simon & Schuster, "ISBN "0-671-24409-4
- Mills, J. Saxon. (1913). The Panama Canal—A history and description of the enterprise A Project Gutenberg free ebook.
- Parker, Matthew. (2007). Panama Fever: The Epic Story of One of the Greatest Human Achievements of All Time—The Building of the Panama Canal. New York: Doubleday. "ISBN 978-0-385-51534-4
- Sherman, Gary. "Conquering the Landscape (Gary Sherman explores the life of the great American trailblazer, John Frank Stevens)," History Magazine, July 2008.
Diplomatic and political history
- Gilboa, Eytan. "The Panama Invasion Revisited: Lessons for the Use of Force in the Post Cold War Era." Political Science Quarterly (1995): 539–562. in JSTOR
- Greene, Julie, The Canal Builders: Making America's Empire at the Panama Canal (New York: Penguin Press, 2009)
- Hogan, J. Michael. "Theodore Roosevelt and the Heroes of Panama." Presidential Studies Quarterly 19 (1989): 79-94. http://www.jstor.org/stable/40574566
- LaFeber, Walter. The Panama Canal: the crisis in historical perspective (Oxford University Press, 1978)
- Major, John. Prize Possession: The United States and the Panama Canal, 1903–1979 (1993)
- Maurer, Noel, and Carlos Yu. The Big Ditch: How America Took, Ran, and Ultimately Gave Away the Panama Canal (Princeton University Press, 2010); 420 pp. "ISBN 978-0-691-14738-3. Econometric analysis of costs ($9 billion in 2009 dollars) and benefits to U.S. and Panama
- Mellander, Gustavo A.(1971) The United States in Panamanian Politics: The Intriguing Formative Years. Daville,Ill.:Interstate Publishers. OCLC 138568.
- Mellander, Gustavo A.; Nelly Maldonado Mellander (1999). Charles Edward Magoon: The Panama Years. Río Piedras, Puerto Rico: Editorial Plaza Mayor. "ISBN 1-56328-155-4. OCLC 42970390.
- Sánchez, Peter M. Panama Lost? U.S. Hegemony, Democracy and the Canal (University Press of Florida, 2007), 251 pp,
- Sánchez, Peter M. "The end of hegemony? Panama and the United States." International Journal on World Peace (2002): 57–89. in JSTOR
|""||"Wikimedia Commons has media related to:|
- Panama Canal Authority website—Has a simulation showing how the canal works
- Making the Dirt Fly, Building the Panama Canal Smithsonian Institution Libraries
- Canalmuseum—History, Documents, Photographs and Stories
- Early stereographic images of the construction University of California
- A.B. Nichols Panama Canal Collection at the Linda Hall Library Archival collection of maps, blueprints, photographs, letters, and other documents, collected by Aurin B. Nichols, an engineer who worked on the canal project through from 1899 until its completion.