The new locks that are part of the Panama Canal expansion project do have a name… Aqua Fria, in the north, and Cocoli, in the south. The existing locks, Gatun, Piedro Miguel, and Miraflores, were named for the towns that they replace with eighty feet or so of water, but what about the new locks?
Aqua Fria means “cool water” in Spanish and is also the name of a stream in the area of the north-side locks. Cocoli, on the south side of the isthmus, was the name of a lake that is now part of Miraflores Lake and also the name of a stream that fed the lake, but the name also is linked to a housing project, in the same location, that dates to the 1930’s, and an effort by the US to expand the canal with a new set of locks. That effort was stopped in 1942 after the US had spent 75 million dollars. The Cocoli Housing Project was eventually claimed by termites and fires, but fortunately the name has been redeemed with the successful Panamanian expansion project, and the name of the new south-side locks.