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Colonel Ernst. The titles are somewhat mixed, I believe.
Senator TALIAFERRO. Colonel, do you know of any person in this country who was a stockholder or a bondholder in the first Panama Canal Company—the French company?
Colonel ERNST. No; I do not.
Senator TALIAFERRO. There were American stockholders, were there not? Colonel Ernst. I suppose so.
I do not know. Senator DRYDEN. Have you an opinion, Colonel, as to whether this work should be constructed as it has been by day work or by contraet?
Colonel ERNST. Oh, I think clearly that we ought to let out contracts. I do not think there is any difference of opinion about that.
Senator DRYDEN. Is it your view that it should be let in separate contracts or in one entire contract?
Colonel Ernst. I should not undertake to give it in one entire contract. I would divide it up into a number of large contracts. I would not have a very great number of small contracts. I would have a lot of large contracts.
Senator DRYDEN. Do you think that we have to-day sufficient information for the bases of specifications for contracting this work?
Colonel Ernst. I think so, yes; for most of it. There is some further information that would be desired about some features of it.
Senator DRYDEN. What information, if any, is lacking for the bases of such specifications?
Colonel Ernst. Well, I should want some further examinations made-and they are being made, too--about this overflow of that spillway [indicating on map]. This plan provides for a spillway through the dam, and up here indicating on map] there is an opportunity, perhaps, for another spillway entirely detached from that. There is some low ground in there [indicating on map.] That river runs up here, and this runs up here (indicating], and Mr. Stevens is now engaged on that. He is boring in there and examining in there to see whether we can not make a little improvement on that. So that we should want to into detail a little more than we have.
Senator DRYDEN. If I am not mistaken, some of the engineers who have testified here have said in effect that in constructing this canal there ought to be leeway allowed for additional light or new discoreries that might be made from time to time as to what should be done. Do you concur in that opinion?
Colonel Ernst. I do; yes, sir.
Senator Drydex. Then, would it not result if that is so in rendering it necessary to make new arrangements to some extent with the contractors after the work had been undertaken? Colonel Ernst. If you let out one contract for the whole job it
I would not do it that way. I would let out a contract for, we will say, one set of these locks, and another contraet for another set of locks, and I would let out a contract for dredging the coastal plane from Limon Bay up to Gatun. That is one class of work separate entirely from lock construction. I would let out another contract over at the other end if we should put that lock at Miraflores as the Secretary of War recommended, and so on, You could divide
that work up intoh-oh, I do not know how many, but I suppose a dozen large contracts. Each in itself would be a very large contract.
Senator DRYDEN. If you did that, how would you protect the Government against the delays, the expense, and other disadvantages that might arise from the clash of the contractors.
Colonel ERNST. I do not knowSenator DRYDEN (continuing). As to where the authority and rights of one began and the other ended?
Colonel Ernst. That would have to be definitely known, of course. Senator DRYDEN. You can see that difficulty can you not?
Colonel Ernst. Yes; it is a thing that has to be guarded against, of course.
Senator DRYDEN. Do you think that you could prepare specifications of such a general character that they would sufficiently guard the interests of the Government and yet when they came to be applied in details would be sufficient to hold the contractor?
Colonel Ernst. Well, I should hope so. I think it would be possible; yes, sir.
Senator MORGAN. If he had a pretty large deposit or bond put up as a guarantee for good behavior-you would have that much, would
Colonel Ernst. Yes, sir. Of course there is going to be great difficulty in dividing up the facilities that we have there—the railroad and the wharves and all that sort of thing; but I think it could be handled.
Senator DRYDEN. In an ordinary commercial enterprise, where the work is done by contract, you are quite aware, no doubt, that almost invariably there are alterations as the work progresses?
Colonel ERNST. Oh, yes.
Senator DRYDEN. Changes in the plans, and consequently in the specifications, which involve new arrangements, rearrangements with the contractor?
Colonel ERNST. Certainly.
Senator Dryden. And the contractor generally has the owner at a disadvantage in those matters. Now, in a big work of this kind, could the Government be amply and sufficiently protected against any imposition on the part of the contractors?
Colonel ERNST. I should think so. It seems to me it is possible.
Senator DRYDEN. Of course you recognize that that would be a very important matter?
Colonel ERNST. A very important matter.
Senator DRYDEN. It might make a difference of many millions of dollars in the course of building the canal as to whether the specifications protected the Government or not?
Colonel ERNST. Oh, yes, sir; the payments would probably be so much a cubic yard or so much a unit of volume, whatever it may be, concrete or whatever it is, and the contractor would be paid for what he actually did. It would hardly be necessary, I should think, to make any such radical changes as would change
Senator MORGAN. The unit of value would account for all additions to the work that might be omitted from the specifications?
Colonel Ernst. You would provide for that. Senator MORGAN. I say, the unit of value would provide for all additions that might be made to the specifications?
Colonel Ernst. Certainly.
Senator MORGAN. And where changes were made that same unit of value would be a fair test of the added cost or the reduced cost?
Colonel Ernst. I can hardly conceive of letting the contract before you have made up your mind about such general features as that that I have just referred to, that new location for a spillway. That, of course, would involve a great deal of change in the unit price. If you get your material out at that place, it might cost very differently from what it would at Gatun. I would not let any contract until I had made up my mind about such general features as that, as to whether to move it over there or not. I do not see why, having the general outline fixed with a reasonable degree of closeness
Senator MORGAN. I will ask you the question whether, in your opinion, work to be done by the Government in building this great structure would not, as a rule, be more expensive and more wasteful and harder to direct than if it was done by contract?
Colonel Ernst. Oh, I think that there are very great advantages in doing it by contract. You not only have a very close figure, but you have the advantage of bringing in the contractor's clientele, his crowd, his people. The Goverment never could get them in any other way at all. Nearly all of these contractors have a set of men that they know, and who know them, and who have been working for them all their lives. They would bring them right into the Government service, and the Government can not get them in any other way. I think there are great advantages in letting out contracts. I do not see any reason why a Government officer in a work on a moderate scale would not do it as well as any body else, but he has not got the people to carry on a work of this magnitude.
Senator MORGAN. The work done up to date by the Government has been pretty expensive?
Colonel ERNST. Some of it has been; and some of it has been very economical.
Senator DRYDEN. In a contract, of course you could bind the contractor as to the quality of work, as to the cost of the work, founded upon some unit price, and also as to the time of completion? Colonel ERNST. Yes, sir. Senator DRYDEN. That, of course, would be a great advantage. Senator MORGAN. You can control the time by contract.
Senator KITTREDGE. Why do you regard it as advisable to seek another location for a spillway?
Colonel ERNST. I am not sure that it is advisable to do it, but we want to look into that.
Senator KITTREDGE. Where is the spillway located under the present plan?
Colonel ERNST. In that hill between the two branches of the dam. The dam crosses two gulches, you know.
Senator KITTREDGE. Is it in the hill?
Senator KITTREDGE. In what way is it connected with the Gatun dam?
Colonel Ernst. Well, the Gatun dam consists of two parts, you may say, one on each side of this bill, and this spillway is cut right through the natural ground of the hill. Senator KITTREDGE. And what is the size of the hill downstream?
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Colonel Ernst. I do not think I quite understand the question. Senator KITTREDGE. What is the width of the hill downstream! Colonel Ernst. It depends entirely on where you take it. Senator KITTREDGE. Where the spillway is.
Colonel Ernst. Well, the width of the hill would depend on where you take it. At the crest it is nothing.
Senator KITTREDGE. How did you take it when you located the spillway?
Colonel Ernst. I did not locate it. I can not answer that question, Senator.
Senator KITTREDGE. Do you not know where, with reference to the hill, the spillway is located?
Colonel Ernst. Right in the middle of the hill. Right through the hill.
Senator KITTREDGE. What is the length through the hill, downstream?
Colonel ERNST. Measured on the spillway?
Colonel ERNST. I do not know. I shall have to refer to drawings for that.
Senator KITTREDGE. Can you ascertain it handily? Colonel Ernst. I do not know whether it is shown in these maps or not. Of course the thickness of the hill depends upon what level you take it at. The hill is a cone, changing its dimensions at every height.
Senator KITTREDGE. The spillway is near the top of the water level. Senator MORGAN. That would be about 80 feet, then?
Senator KITTREDGE. About. As I recollect, that is the height of it. I want to know what distance you travel before you run out of the hill?
Colonel Ernst. The bottom of that spillway is at an elevation of 70 feet. The thickness of the hill at elevation 70 would be an answer to your question, would it?
Senator KITTREDGE. Is that the height of the spillway? Colonel Ernst. Yes; the bottom of it. The spillway has a lip over which the water flows, and there are gates sliding up and down above it
Senator KITTREDGE. I understand what a spillway is.
Senator MORGAN. That would make the water 15 feet deep on the spillway.
Colonel ERNST. It is closed by gates which slide up and down and enlarge or diminish the size of the opening. The bottom of that is at an elevation of 70 feet. The thickness of the hill at 70 feet is, as nearly as I can make it out, here on this map, 100 feet.
Senator KITTREDGE. One hundred feet through the hill?
Senator KITTREDGE. Then how is the spillway constructed after you leave the hill ?
Colonel Ernst, Oh, it is sunk clear down into the hill. I thought you asked me the thickness of the hill at the crest of the spillway. Perhaps I can show you better on this section. That is the form of it [indicating on section). This is earth; this is concrete. There is the crest of the spillway, right there [indicating], and above it are these sliding gates; and the thickness of the hill at that level is 100 feet.
Senator KITTREDGE. How do you control the water in the spillway after it passes the hill?
Colonel Ernst. It flows down over here [indicating on section].
Colonel Ernst. This is concrete-all masonry. It spills over into a triangular-shaped basin, like that, and slides down and is collected and carried off through a channel into the Chagres River.
Senator KITTREDGE. What sort of a basin do you have there?
Senator KITTREDGE. How far is that basin within the limits of the dam up and down stream?
Colonel Ernst. It does not come in the dam at all, Senator; it is in this hill. There is the outline of it, there [indicating on map].
Senator KITTREDGE. Back of the hill, then?
Senator KITTREDGE. Downstream from the hill the two wings of the dam do not touch; is that it?
Colonel ERNST. That is it.
Colonel Ernst. They are represented right here [indicating on map]. There is the hill; here is the dam, and on this side that slopes down here and slopes that way and this way [indicating on map].
Senator KITTREDGE. In what manner is the water kept from the sides of the dam after leaving the hill structure?
Colonel Ernst. It is carried off in a masonry conduit.
Colonel ERNST. That would depend on the site. That is shown here. I should say several thousand feet. It is not defined. That will depend entirely on the necessities of the case at the time of construction.
Senator KITTREDGE. Have not plans been worked out for that?
Colonel Ernst. Not in any more detail than this. This is all that I have, what was furnished by the consulting board.
Senator MORGAN. One question about that hill. That is a sort of sugar-loaf elevation, is it not?
Colonel ERNST. Yes, sir.
Senator MORGAN. Do those things occur frequently in the coastal plane of Panama down there, those uplifts, or sugar-loaf hills?
Colonel Ernst. Yes, sir; there are a good many of them around there.
Senator MORGAN. They are isolated—not connected together by ridges?
Colonel ERNST. Not necessarily; no.
Senator MORGAN. They were thrown up at different places along on that coastal plane by volcanic action?
Colonel Ernst. That I do not know, Senator, whether they were or not.
Senator MORGAN. Have you ever dug into one of them or had them examined to see what their structure was—whether it was rock?
Colonel Ernst. Only these borings. They have gone into a great many of them and they find them to be what they have nicknamed indurated clay, which does not seem to be a very good name.