A proposed route has been approved for a shipping channel across Nicaragua that would compete with the Panama Canal according to a report by Reuters.
A Nicaraguan committee approved a $40 billion, 172 mile (278 km) route from the mouth of the Brito river on the Pacific side to the Punto Gorda river on the Caribbean. The proposed canal would pass through Central America’s largest lake, Lake Nicaragua. It will be between 230- and 520 meters (755 feet to 1,706 feet) wide and 27.6 meters (90 feet) deep.
Environmental and social impact studies should be completed by year’s end and work is expected to begin in December.
There is opposition to the plan in reference to the canal’s effect on the lake, one of the countries sources of fresh water and the impact on poor communities. The plan is to finish the canal in 2019 and begin operations in 2020.
The proposed channel would be more than three times longer than the 48-mile (77-km) Panama Canal, which took the United States a decade to build at the narrowest part of the Central American isthmus. It was completed in 1914.