The canal's administrator says the stoppage will give authorities time to analyze how to proceed on the project to widen the canal.
The Spanish-led construction consortium leading the expansion says negotiations have broken down for how to finance the cost overrun.
Spanish firm Sacyr SA says 10,000 jobs are at risk. Italy's Impreglio SpA construction firm is also in the consortium.
The consortium and the Panama Canal Authority blame each other for the overruns.