Officials flooded the new locks as part of the Panama Canal Expansion project for the first time in Cocoli, Thursday, kickstarting the testing phase of a project that will allow the passage of larger vessels through the Canal. An estimated five million cubic metres (176,573,333 ft 3) of water will be passed through the first two chambers, with plans to open five valves on the Atlantic side of the canal this week. Roberto Roy, Minister of Canal Affairs reported that the expansion project is now in the final stages,in the electromechanical stage. The construction contractors Grupo Unidos por el Canal SA (GUPC) have said that the flooding and testing process will take between three and four months as part of plan to open a third lane of traffic, or third set of locks, the entire project is expected to be completed in 2016.
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