By: Kelly Womer, APR, ABC, Fellow PRSA

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Panama Canal: Expanding Attention for a Massive Engineering Feat

The expanded Panama Canal opened last month, welcoming larger cargo ships in a new, wider third lane that’s been designed and under construction for about nine years. Massive ships – about 50 yards wide and three football fields long – can now take the 50-mile shortcut through the Americas instead of steering 10,000 miles past the southern tip of Chile.

MWH Global, now part of Stantec, asked Linhart PR to help promote its role as lead technical designer of the third set of locks at key milestones. The challenge: How do you bring one of the world’s largest transportation projects down to size and share the innovative design requirements of this engineering marvel?  In advance of the Canal’s grand opening, we worked with MWH communicators, engineers and experts to tell the technical design story, make the complicated project relatable to the average person via meaningful messages, and show the human side of this engineering feat. The result: Local and national reporters shared the design challenges and Colorado-based people behind the project. Among the coverage highlights:

  • USA Today – MWH expert offers perspectives on the Panama Canal expansion impact on global trade
  • Business Insider – MWH engineer addresses the size, scale and technical design “firsts” for the expanded Panama Canal in this highly visual article
  • Denver Post (Sunday) – MWH executive discusses the “iconic project” and the firm’s role in designing a piece of history
  • KUSA-TV (NBC) Ch. 9, Denver – Multiple on-location segments with MWH experts discussing the Colorado connection and the expansion project, including a 30-minute documentary timed with the grand opening
  • KMGH-TV (ABC) Ch. 7, Denver – On-location segments with MWH experts discussing the technical feats and Colorado connection to the global project


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