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T. Baker Smith Engineer and Terrebonne Port Director Visit Panama Canal Site - Thursday, June 28, 2012


June 28, 2012

Contact: Paula Rome
Corporate Marketing Director
(985) 857-3016

T. Baker Smith Engineer and Terrebonne Port Director Visit Panama Canal Site

Pictured are Jimmy Ledet, P.E., Principal in Charge and David Rabalais, Terrebonne Port Director,
overlooking the Panama Canal Construction Site

(Houma, LA) Last week, T. Baker Smith Principal in Charge, Jimmy Ledet, P.E. and David Rabalais, Terrebonne Port Director, were amongst a group of eight engineers from Louisiana visiting the Panama Canal. The purpose of the trip was to visit the construction site of the enlargement of the Panama Canal and to learn how the widening of the canal could bring additional commerce into the ports along the Gulf Coast. The trip was sponsored by the American Council of Engineering Companies of Louisiana (ACECL).

The expansion will add a third lane of traffic which will allow the transit of longer, wider ships. The new locks are 180 feet wide and 1200 feet long and will be located adjacent to the existing ones. Total cost for the expansion is $5 billion with anticipated completion in 2015.

Ledet said, "There is a huge hole in the ground about a mile long and 200 feet deep, and there were about 11,000 workers on the project. The new gates will actually slide across the canal versus old gates which are traditional swing gates like we might see around here.

Ledet and Rabalais met with an engineer with the Panama Canal Authority who gave an overview of the project, and also went to the construction site near the Mira Flores locks. The groupthen met with William Muntean of the US Embassy in Panama to talk about opportunities for Louisiana due to the expansion.

David Rabalais said, "I would like to explore how our region could take advantage of the larger canal. The larger ships may run into depth problems trying to get their ships into Louisiana ports.. Maybe a LOOP type facility offshore to offload containers from bigger ships onto smaller ones that would then go up the Mississippi River or maybe get to the rail system in Morgan City might be the answer.

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ABOUT T. BAKER SMITH: T. Baker Smith, LLC has provided integrated solutions to private, public and industrial clients in south Louisiana, the Gulf Coast, and beyond for nearly a century. With offices located in Houma, Thibodaux, Baton Rouge, Lafayette, and Shreveport, LA and Houston, TX, our dedicated team of 300 associates includes expertise in planning, environmental, engineering, on and offshore surveying, marine positioning, and GIS / mapping.


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