The Panama Canal Administration (ACP) reaffirmed the April start date for a widened waterway.

The agency revealed the optimistic view Thursday as part of a commemoration of the anniversary for the a national referendum approved the project to widen the country's most important piece of infrastructure.

"Nine years later, the widening programme has reached 94% execution and everything indicates that in April of 2016, the new locks will begin commercial operation," the agency said.

The project has been plagued by delays, and water seepage in the new locks has raised the possibility of further setbacks.