What with one thing and another, I had been completely unaware that there are plans to build another canal to connect the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, to compete with the existing Panama Canal. This canal will be built by the Chinese and will go through Nicaragua. The graphic from McClatchy gives a good idea of the huge scale of the project. The engineering challenges are massive.
Although a final decision has not been made, plans are being drawn up and funding is being sought for the estimated $60 billion project that is expected to take ten years to complete.
For Nicaragua, a poor nation of 5 million people, the project may punch its ticket out of poverty, creating jobs and prosperity.
For China, the plan would mean easier access to crude oil from Venezuela and a greater foothold in the western hemisphere. Such geopolitical considerations may weigh more for China than the price tag.
I always found it fascinating that due to the way that north and south America are connected, going through the Panama Canal from the Atlantic to the Pacific required you to actually go from west to east. The new canal will not have that quirk.