Thousands flock to tour of Panama Canal expansion
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Thousands flock to tour of Panama Canal expansion

Thousands of people have toured the expanded Panama Canal’s new set of locks as authorities offered Panamanians a chance to see the mega-project up close.

Authorities estimate that 45,000 people took the tour, which comes as work is 90 percent completed.

Canal administrator Jorge Luis Quijano said Sunday that the objective of opening the project to the public is so that “people can sense and understand the magnitude of the project.”

The Panama Canal is installing the last of 16 giant lock gates that are a key part of the waterway’s multibillion-dollar expansion.

Read more: Rescued Panama Canal fossils tell ancient American immigration tale

Panama in 2006 decided to build a wider canal to accommodate vessels capable of carrying 2.5 times the number of containers held by ships currently using the canal. The canal is expected to open in April 2016.

Associated Press