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Dispute Halts Epic Panama Canal Expansion Project

Image: Cranes and machinery lie idle at the construction site of the Panama Canal
Cranes and machinery lie idle at the construction site of the Panama Canal in Cocoli, Panama City, Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2014. Work on the ambitious Panama Canal expansion project was halted Wednesday after talks broke down on how to settle a dispute over cost overruns. Panama Canal Authority Administrator Jorge Quijano told a news conference the stoppage will give authorities time to analyze how to proceed on the project to widen the canal. Arnulfo Franco / AP

Work on the ambitious Panama Canal expansion project was halted Wednesday after talks broke down on how to settle a dispute over $1.6 billion in cost overruns.

The Panama Canal Authority and the Spanish-led construction consortium leading the expansion blame each other for the overruns.

The project, which is already running nine months late, aims to double the capacity of the 50-mile canal, which carries 5 to 6 percent of world commerce.

— The Associated Press