Culebra (Gaillard) Cut
N 09° 02.417 W 079° 38.714
The Culebra Cut, once called the Gaillard Cut, is an artificial waterway created by cutting through the the Isthmus of Panama at the continental divide.
The Panama Canal was constructed between 1881 and 1914. There are three sets of locks, two lakes and one long rock cut along the Panama Canal. Each has historic name of the area in which they are built. The Culebra Cut (Gaillard Cut) begins at the south end of Gatun Lake and continues until you reach the Pedro Miguel Locks. Culebra is the name of the mountain through which the cut is made and Galliard was David du Bose Gaillard who led the excavation.
The Culebra Cut is the narrowest part of the Panama Canal. The 12.7 km long passageway was excavated through the rock of the continental divide along the Isthmus of Panama. To the west of the cut are the Rocky Mountains and the Andes Mountains are on the east. At the continental dived the cut is noticeably terraced.
The excavation of the Culebra Cut was begun by the French under Ferdinand de Lesseps in 1881 in the attempt to build a sea level can connecting the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. They excavated 18,646,000 cubic yards of material before abandoning the project. To do this they lowered the summit from 210 feet 194 feet. The United States took over the project on May 4, 1904. Sixty million pounds of dynamite were required to complete the cut and a railroad system was constructed to to haul away the enormous amount of dirt and rock. The Culebra Cut was completed on May 20, 1913. The summit was lowered from 194' to its present day 39' above sea level.
|Terraced Cut at Continental Divide|