Nicaragua Sets Path of Panama Canal Rival
A man, a plan, a canal—not Panama!
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jul 8, 2014 9:13 AM CDT
In this June 14, 2013 file photo, President Daniel Ortega and Chinese businessman Wang Jing hold a deal for a multibillion-dollar canal. Nicaragua and China’s HKND Group unveiled the route yesterday.   (Esteban Felix)

(Newser) – Nicaragua's government and Hong Kong-based HKND Group yesterday unveiled the route of a proposed $40 billion inter-ocean canal to compete with the Panama Canal that Sandinista officials hope will lift the Central American country out of poverty. While the canal has the support of President Daniel Ortega and most Nicaraguans, many legal experts charge that the deal violates the country's national sovereignty. Environmental experts warn that construction could cause profound ecological damage by damming rivers, splitting ecosystems, and moving untold tons of earth. Others fear the project is not economically feasible.

Having considered six possible routes, HKND announced yesterday that the canal will stretch 173 miles, 65 miles of which are across Lake Nicaragua. The route begins on the Pacific Ocean at the mouth of river Brito, heads south through the city of Rivas, and crosses Lake Nicaragua. From Lake Nicaragua, it goes by the Tule and Punta Gordas rivers until it reaches the southern Caribbean by Bluefields Bay. "This project is going to be the biggest built in the history of humanity. It will be an enormous help to the Nicaraguan people and for the world in general, because world trade will require it, we are sure of this," says HKND's owner. Construction is to begin in December and take five years.

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Dec 23, 2014 4:16 PM CST
Will this be a sea level canal without locks? That would be a much faster transit than the existing canal.
Jul 10, 2014 12:00 PM CDT
It occurs to me, the Chinese are in control of the Port of Long Beach, CA. Now they want to build a new canal across Central America. When do they gain control of a major US-East Coast Port? Not to mention European ports? Sounds like a long-range plan to protect China's shipping business -- until the Sandinistas decide they're not getting enough profits.
Lou Bernardo
Jul 8, 2014 11:54 PM CDT
The Panama Canal is being widened. Another canal could lessen yj long wait to pass through. It took all day for out ship. The idea of a new canal in Nicaragua has been discussed for many years because of the restrictions of the Panama Canal's locks.