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If, therefore, it is decided to disregard the recommendations of the majority of the Board of Consulting Engineers, and to build a lock canal, then it is to be earnestly hoped only such form of lock canal will be authorized as will be admissible in connection with the construction of a dam at Gamboa rather than at Gatun.
While for certain purposes and under certain conditions earthen dams of large dimensions carefully formed are permissible, in this case it is not believed that such form of construction should be seriously considered when it is possible to secure a masonry structure founded on bed rock; particularly when the work under consideration must be supposed to possess permanency, and is being erected as a monument to the engineering skill of our modern civilization. There is no urgency that to my mind would justify the great risk of earth dams at Gatun or La Boca.
The next important matter to consider and decide is whether the canal shall be constructed under the present method of management or whether a contract for the work shall be made with a single contracting firm. In the latter case the specifications, of course, should be of the most broad and general nature, leaving all detail engineering plans to the engineers of the contractor in order that he may have the fullest latitude in immediately meeting and overcoming such local difficulties as from time to time are sure to arise.
After the contract is let, there would, of course, be no reason for retaining a cumbersome governmental organization in reference to the work, for there is no doubt that the Corps of Engineers of the United States Army could most efficiently supervise the contractor engaged upon the work. All the governmental functions, including policing and sanitation, could easily be performed under the control and direction of the governor of the Canal Zone. It can not be doubted that these two methods, if adopted, will give entirely satisfactory results.
The question will naturally arise in doing the work by contract whether there are any engineering organizations competent to enter into such a contract and to construct a work of this magnitude, and such a question must be answered in the affirmative. Several wellknown organizations are quite capable and competent to handle a work of this character, and there is no good reason why they could not be induced to make bids for it, if the Congress in its wisdom decides such a method of management of this great work is preferable to that which has existed for the last two years.
In considering the question of additional time required for the construction of a sea-level canal the prompt and efficient utilization of the Panama Railroad is a matter of very great importance; for if the railroad is provided without unnecessary delay, with the very best modern facilities and equipment, including double tracks with abundance of sidings, shops, wharves, docks, and warehouses, and especially with the latest and most approved appliances for transferring cargoes from ships to cars and from cars to ships, very many of the advantages the world's commerce would derive from the completion of the canal will be at once afforded to it. Indeed, in many cases of goods shipped from American ports destined to the west coast of South America, it will probably be found advantageous for them to go in a single ship to Colon and being transferred by the railroad to Panama, be reshipped in smaller vessels plying from that port to the different ports to which different parts of the cargo may be consigned.
There are two suggestions which since they were first made have been subjected to very careful and thoughtful review because of criticisms which have been passed upon them. The first is that the railroad should be substituted for the canal while the canal is in process of construction. If so, it should be completely separated in management and control from any steamship line at either end, as the canal itself will be, and the charge for transfer from ship to ship should be a flat rate per ton regardless of classification except that light and bulky articles should be rated at a certain number of cubic feet to the ton. This rate should not be in excess of $2 per ton, even with the present limited amount of business and as the business increases the rate should be reduced as the receipts justify.
Of course railroad managers who are accustomed to through bills of lading and through rates naturally desire that the railroad should be considered only a link in the shipments from one part of the world to another and that the same cumbersome classifications should prevail to which they have been accustomed in the movement of transcontinental traffic; but all such intermeddling with the transit across the Isthmus will disappear as if by magic the day the canal is opened, and there is therefore not the slightest reason why it should not disappear now, and the world's commerce be proffered substantially the same advantages of transit across the Isthmus that under precisely the same circumstances it will enjoy when the canal itself is placed in operation. Under such a system of administration there is no occasion whatever for the Panama Railroad maintaining a corporate existence with offices in New York, for the road can be far better controlled by a single competent railway manager on the Isthmus who would, of course, be under the direction and control of the general contractor in case the entire work is let under one contract.
This arrangement alone would save a large annual expenditure now apparently wasted on the Panama Railroad organization and do away with the complexities which that organization evidently produces, while at the same time the embarrassing questions arising from the alliance of steamship lines with the transit across the Isthmus could be separately considered on their merits, leaving the Government at liberty to retain a line of transports for its own use or rely upon the boats reaching the Isthmus both from the east and the west, as the Government's best interest might dictate; but, however, Government transports ought not to have the slightest possible advantage over any competing line of ships.
The method thus suggested of operating the railroad as a simple transfer line across the Isthmus and therefore as an immediate and practicable substitute for the canal with a low flat rate or charge, common to all the world's commerce, is a practicable and simple proposition which the committee will readily understand even if it declines to approve it. Above all, it would remove at once all cause for charges of favoritism for or discrimination against any particular interest or section of our country or even between ourselves and foreign nations, and thus enable the United States to redeem immediately the promise it has given that the great waterway which it is now constructing shall offer equal advantages to all the world and special privileges to none.
It must also be remembered that with such an excellent substitute for the canal while the canal is being constructed, any slight delay
in construction will be of far less importance than if the present organization of the railroad in New York is maintained and its mystifying relations with through bills of lading and through rates continued.
The expenditures which will be necessary to put the railroad in condition for this important work have already been partly made and will be required in any event for the road to furnish the proper facilities for the construction of the canal, so that no considerable additional expense is involved in the proposition.
As the primary reason for the construction of the canal has always been given as that of affording free and unobstructed facilities for all commerce across the Isthmus, it would really seem to be our imperative duty to provide these facilities at the earliest possible moment, when it can be done at a very moderate cost and in a simple manner.
It is, of course, a fundamental practice in railroad maintenance and operation that all physical changes and improvements of railroad properties should be so conducted as not to interfere with or delay the current traffic, and the same principle should apply to the construction of the canal. The railroad should be used as an instrumentality for this construction, but it should not be so used as to be injurious to the present facilities for commerce. On the contrary, it should be enlarged, improved, and amplified for increasing such facilities in the manner already indicated.
If the committee should think that undue importance is being attached to this question, it may be suggested that when such a large measure of benefit to the world's commerce can be secured by the expenditure of so small a sum and in so short a time and so great a percentage of benefit to be ultimately derived from the construction of the canal be at once secured, the importance of intelligent and inimediate action by Congress can readily be understood and is earnestly urged upon it.
It must be remembered, and it is well known to persons engaged in large transportation problems, that it is much easier to retain and regulate the movement of traffic along lines to which it has been accustomed than it is to regain it after it has been once diverted to new routes, and the committee ought not to overlook the competition of the Tehuantepec route, which is now being provided with every kind of facility for handling traffic from ship to cars and from cars to ship across that Isthmus, and which it is suggested ought to be immediately provided at Panama, so that not only the commerce now passing across the Isthmus at Panama may be retained, but every possible inducement offered to the constantly increasing commerce of the world to avail itself of the facilities of this route rather than allow itself to be diverted to the Tehuantepec route on account of lack of facilities at Panama.
In conclusion, it must be admitted that the problems now confronting the Congress are of a very embarrassing character, but the intelligence and patriotism if its members will surely enable it to reach satisfactory conclusions. When such conclusions are reached both as to type of canal, whether at sea level or with locks, and as to the best inethod of constructing it, whether under the present organization or by letting the contract to outside parties under the supervision of the Corps of Engineers of the United States Army, it can not be doubted
that its decision will meet the expectations of the people in all respects and satisfy the just pride that their country has undertaken the task of conferring upon the world the benefits of this great enterprise.
Senator KITTREDGE. When you arrived at the Isthmus about the 1st of June, 1904, you found engineering parties there that had been operating on the work?
Mr. WALLACE. Yes, sir. The line from Colon to Gamboa was covered with engineering parties; and they were first charged with a verification of the French topographical maps, and second, with mak ing borings.
Senator KITTREDGE. Where were the borings made?
Mr. WALLACE. There was one party at Colon, under Mr. List; a second at Gatun, under Mr. Nichols; a third at Bohio, under Mr. Dauchy, and a fourth at Gamboa, under Mr. Ely. These several parties were again subdivided into smaller parties.
Senator KITTREDGE. Please tell us the result of the explorations and borings at Gatun especially, and also at Bohio.
Mr. WALLACE. In order to explain that situation I will state that when I first took charge I understood that the type of the canal had been practically established by the Spooner Act, although some deviation might be permitted from it; and I had read a paper by Mr. Ward, published in the transactions of the American Society of Civil Engineers, which has been made part of your record, and I was very much taken with the idea of a dam at Gatun. The first idea I had, after I had spent a week or so on the Isthmus and looked the situation over generally, was that that was the proper locality for a dam, if a lock canal was constructed, provided suitable foundations could be secured for it.
Senator KITTREDGE. Why was that?
Mr. WALLACE. In figuring out the various elements of cost, it gave a lock canal with the proper depths and widths for less money than the estimates made under the Spooner plan. That was the principal reason.
After we had made a very few borings at Gatun, however, we struck one of the gorges that are shown on the cross section that appears in this exhibit before the committee and found this loose, permeable stratification extending down to about 179 or 180 feet below the sea level, containing sand and freely water bearing. That convinced me that there was no hope of finding any suitable foundations for a dam inside of any reasonable distance, so I put my parties temporarily on other parts of the work.
Senator KITTREDGE. I wish you would explain in detail just what was done in making borings at Gatun and what was developed. You may use maps if you wish.
Mr. WALLACE. I do not see your cross sections here. I do not remember how many borings were made, but we made quite a number. [After examining maps.) I am not able to tell from this particular plan what part of these borings were taken under my jurisdiction.
The Chairman. I think all the borings are noted on this plan. I think one of the engineers a few days ago stated that fact.
Senator KITTREDGE. Some were made after Mr. Wallace left.
The CHAIRMAN. I think a number were made after you left, Mr. Wallace.
Mr. WALLACE. The railroad is on this side of the gorge [indicating]—that is, this cross section is a cross section across the valley, looking north, and some of the first borings that were made went down in this gorge about 179 or 180 feet. We made others that only went down a part of that distance, but as soon as I discovered that there was a gorge there and that that depth was below the possibility of finding a foundation with which a permanent contact could be made, or to which the foundation of a dam could be taken, I temporarily abandoned those borings and went to work with the same party and tried to find the character of the material through here, with the idea of making a cut-off in order to shorten the canal. That was afterwards abandoned, however.
After the Commission came down in August they were not satisfied in regard to my theory of the continuity
of this gorge, so then we went to work and kept at it continuously from that time and took these other borings which you see here in order to determine, if it was possible, that we could find some place where the indurated clay was not so deep as it was at the point first selected for examination.
In other words, to present the matter more clearly to you, the principle I was working on was this: That in a work of this magnitude it would not be safe to construct any dam to hold back the head of water that would be necessary at that point unless we could go to bed rock with our foundations. That we had decided on as a fundamental principle. When we found that the gorge existed there, I could see no use of further explorations.
Senator SIMMONS. Do you mean, Mr. Wallace, that it is necessary that the whole dam should rest upon a rock foundation ?
Mr. WALLACE. No; not necessarily; but that you should be able at least to carry a curtain
Senator Simmons. I mean for the safety of the dam. Do you mean that it is necessary that the whole of the dam should rest upon a rock foundation ?
Mr. WALLACE. No; not the whole foundation. But it is necessary—that is, in my own opinion—that you should carry down :? contact, or what we call a curtain wall, to the bed rock or to some impervious
material. Senator SIMMONS. The whole length of the dam? Mr. WALLACE. The whole entire length of the dam. Senator KITTREDGE. Why is that? Mr. WALLACE. That is, from one side of the valley to the other. Why, it is so as to cut off the percolation of any water underneatlı your structure.
Senator SIMMONS. Is that what you call a core? What do you call that construction which you say must go down to the rock?
Mr. WALLACE. If it is an earth dam which you are building on a rock foundation you put in what we call a puddle core. put in a core in the center of that dam that is impervious to water.
Senator SIMMONS. Yes.
Mr. WALLACE. If you desired to build a large earth dam in an alluvial valley you would want to carry that core down to the bed rock or to some impervious material. We generally call it a curtain wall.
That is, you