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Mr. WALLACE. That would be the ordinary practice, to tie one up to a bank and let the other
pass it. The CHAIRMAX. With the changes which you suggested in the plan a few minutes ago, having the canal widened from this end down to the sea, and from the other end also, what would be the length of the narrower part ?
Mr. WALLACE. That would be 8 or 10 miles,
Mr. WALLACE. No, sir; that would be built 200 feet wide. They propose to make that 200 feet wide at the summit level, as I understand it.
The CHAIRMAN. I thought it was 150 feet. Mr. WALLACE. I may be mistaken. Senator MORGAN. It is 200 feet. Mr. WALLACE. Where they propose to make their canal 150 feet wide, I understand, is where they are in the mud, and where they have to have a flat slope, say, a slope of two to one, which means this: That a bank of the canal, if it is 40 feet deep, would be 80 feet out from the perpendicular on one side and 80 feet on the other, so that your canal between bank and bank would be 310 feet wide at the surface of the water. So that only vessels of the deepest draft would have to confine themselves to the center 150 feet of width.
Senator MORGAN. There are no vessels that draw 40 feet of water?
Mr. WALLACE. I do not think there are any that draw that now. I think 30 feet to 33 feet are about the heaviest drafts.
The CHAIRMAN. It is reported that they are building a couple of vessels that will draw 38 feet, I believe.
Mr. WALLACE. It would be a rare thing that you would ever have two of these great ships that would happen to pass in this narrow place—perhaps once in a year. If you have a large vessel and a small one passing each other you have ample width, because the small vessel could pass the large one entirely outside of this 150-foot channel and still have plenty of water—your vessel of 25-foot draft, say.
Senator TALIAFERRO. Will you step over there to the map and illustrate from what point on the Pacific side you would suggest a greater width to the canal—up to what point from the bay and up to what point on the Pacific side?
Mr. WALLACE. As I have just been explaining, the majority of the Commission practically give that greater width now by the flatness of their slopes; but from the entrance of the canal on the Panama side to Miraflores you could get almost any ordinary width that you wanted—four or five hundred feet-at moderate expense.
Senator TALIAFERRO. Would you say $10,000,000 would do it?
Mr WALLACE I should say $10,000,000 would do it on the Pacific side.
Senator TALIAFERRO. Now, go to the Atlantic side.
Mr. WALLACE. On the Atlantic side it would take about $10,000,000 for each additional 100 feet in width up to, say, about San Pablo. That is just simply my general judgment on what I know of the general locality and the average depths, etc.
Senator TALIAFERRO. You spoke in your pamphlet here of the canal costing $300,000,000. Taking the canal recommended by the Board
of Consulting Engineers, would you say that that could be widened to 500 feet from either ocean up to these points that you have designated at a total cost not to exceed $300,000,000?
Mr. WALLACE. I would say that it could, eliminating the $50,000,000 which was paid for the canal itself and for the concession down there.
Senator TALIAFERRO. That is all eliminated in the report of the Board, is it not?
Mr. WALLACE. Yes, sir.
Senator MORGAN. Your estimate was $300,000,000 for the entire canal ?
Mr. WALLACE. Just before you came in I undertook to make a suggestion showing that I thought we could afford to spend that much money for a canal that was satisfactory.
Senator MORGAN. A sea-level canal is what you meant?
Senator MORGAN. And cutting it through the Culebra Heights, of course?
Mr. WALLACE. Yes, sir.
Senator TALIAFERRO. You meant to undertake to show that such a canal, built at a cost of $300,000,000, would be a profitable investment?
Mr. WALLACE. Yes, sir; that is, eventually. "It would not be right off, but in a broad way it would be. If the competition which the Panama Canal would bring on the Suez would cause a reduction of $1 a ton on the freight-not on the tonnage measurement, the way they compute their tonnage, but on the actual goods themselves-through the Suez Canal, why, on their present tonnage there, it would yield over $10,000,000 a year, which would be saved to the commerce of the world. It would not come to the United States in tolls, but would be saved to the world's commerce immediately.
Senator MORGAN. It does not occur to me that we are out for the purpose of making money for the world. When we get to digging canals in Mars, that may be. (Laughter.]
Mr. WALLACE. I thought we were, Senator. I thought our position before the civilized world was that we were digging this canal for the benefit of the world.
Senator MORGAN. Now, let me ask you two or three questions. In building a sea-level canal, you would necessarily retain the dam at Gamboa ?
Mr. WALLACE. Yes, sir.
Senator MORGAN. And that would back up a great volume of water into lakes, according to the incoming of the waters from the afluents ?
Mr. WALLACE. Yes, sir.
Senator MORGAN. Would that dam at Gamboa supply a sufficiency of water for all commercial purposes for a lock canal between, say, Gamboa or Obispo and Miraflores or Pedro Miguel ?
Mr. WALLACE. The dam at Gamboa would be practicable and usable for a lock canal of any height or level that you might want to have there, up to 90 feet, 60 feet, or any other height.
Senator MORGAN. Practically usable, you say?
Mr. WALLACE. Yes; it would also furnish you your water for the entire Zone, and it would furnish electric power to run the Panama Railroad and light the entire Isthmus from one side to the other,
Senator MORGAN. Then it would be quite sufficient for the eight or ten miles across the Culebra Cut if a lock canal should be constructed between Obispo and Miraflores?
Mr. WALLACE. It would be abundantly sufficient; yes, sir.
Senator DRYDEN. Mr. Wallace, you have spoken of a plan for a sealevel canal which is not recommended by the majority. If you were confined to the recommendation of the majority or the minority, which one of those plans would you recommend?
Mr. WALLACE. Why, the majority report, decidedly. I do not recommend a plan differing from the majority report. I simply said, Senator, that there were one or two points that I question. I was asked to criticise that, and I said that there are one or two points that were suggested by the majority report that I was not sure in my own mind whether those particular details were the best or not; but as far as the plan is concerned I would like to go on record as indorsing their general plan.
Senator DRYDEN. The plan of the majority ?
Senator Dryden. Do you think that a sea-level canal as narrow as recommended by the majority is a safe canal for all big vessels to navigate?
Mr. WALLACE. Yes; I do.
Senator DRYDEN. Supposing an accident occurs to a big vessel, and it blocks the canal, and other vessels are in the canal coming both ways, what is going to happen if those vessels happen to get in there and find that canal blocked up in a way that may prevent traffic perhaps for weeks?
Mr. WALLACE. I do not grant that it would delay traffic for weeks, because it would only be a matter of a few days, possibly. Of course it depends on how efficient they are in getting it out. But it is just like it is on a railroad: We wreck a train in a tunnel or we wreck a train in a deep cut, and the first thing we do is to clear it out and restore traffic. We use dynamite or fire or anything that is necessary to remove the obstruction.
Senator DRYDEN. Is it so improbable that a vessel might meet with such an accident in there that it would become impossible to take it out without great expense of time and money?
Mr. WALLACE. I can not imagine anything that would happen to a vessel sinking in the canal prism-I mean in the channel itselfwhether it is a lock canal or a sea-level canal, with the appliances with which a great work of that kind should be provided, and the men skilled to use them, that could prevent the removal of a wreck in a very short time.
Senator DRYDEN. There is a margin of but 2 feet in depth in this proposed canal for the biggest vessels now in course of construction. In the case of a vessel steaming through under its own head of steam, might it not strike bottom with a margin so small as that? Will there not be danger of that?
Mr. WALLACE. It depends on the velocity with which it is moving.
Senator DRYDEN. But it would not have to move at a very great velocity, would it, if it was extremely heavily loaded?
Mr. WALLACE. Well, that statement would apply to either a lock or a sea-level canal.
Senator DRYDEN. I think that is true; therefore I wanted your opinion on that as applicable to both plans.
Mr. WALLACE. I should think for a vessel with a draft of 30 feet that you would want more than 2 feet clearance. But there is this to be considered: I do not know of any harbor in the world to-day that will let a 38-foot draft steamship into it.
Senator MORGAN. What depth?
Mr. WALLACE. They do not come in drawing that much water. ! vessel may have a possible draft of 38 or 40 feet, but that does ne's mean that it will be loaded to that draft. It may not be loaded to that draft once in the lifetime of the ship.
Senator DRYDEN. Of course; that I can understand perfectly well.
Mr. WALLACE. Take the situation at New Orleans. When I was with the Central we had a very heavy export business, and we were loading sometimes three, six, eight, ten, or twelve ocean steamers per day at our docks—the Stuyvesant docks there. We had vessels there that had a draft of 30 and 32 feet of water—15,000 to 18,000 ton ships; but they loaded for the bar at the jetties, over which there was 26 feet of water.
Senator DRYDEN. At no point in the sea-level canal, I take it, would a vessel be able to proceed except at a very moderate rate, even where the canal is 200 feet wide?
Mr. WALLACE. Take the case of the Suez Canal to-day; their depth is very moderate- I do not remember what it is, but it is less than 30 feet-and their widths are much less than at Panama, and yet the commerce of the world goes through there.
Senator DRYDEN. When you were speaking of the Gatun dam, Mr. Wallace, you started to say something about the locks--that you did not like the locks—but you were interrupted by another question, and diverted.
Mr. WALLACE. What I meant was this: I may be mistaken, but in my own examinations of those borings—there have only four or five borings been taken throughout the entire length of the site on which it is proposed to build those locks, and those locks with their approaches and wing walls extend upward of a mile in length; and my criticism on the lock plan was this: First, the continuity of the locks in flight, being so close together, so that if you had an accident in one it might affect the other; and second was the view that it is very difficult anywhere in clay, in any country, for a great distance, to secure a foundation that is absolutely of a uniform and homogeneous nature; and with the great weight that these locks will have it will be a very serious question, in my mind, whether or not, unless you had a perfectly homogeneous and uniform foundation under them, you would not run the danger of having your heavy, immense, massive masonry crack, due to unequal settlements. And it would seem the part of prudence, before a lock plan of that magnitude and importance is undertaken, that the most thorough borings should be made over that entire area, and at least as close together as 100 to 200 feet apart, both laterally and longitudinally.
Senator DRYDEN. These borings have not yet been made, then?
Mr. WALLACE. I understand that they have not. While the general surface of the ground may look the same, in that country you can not tell what you have got until you get down into it. And in case there should be softer material toward the edges of this hill, in which they intend to put this lock, under the surface, and that material should not be as dense as it was under the center of it, which is a very possible situation, something that you naturally find almost anywhere under similar conditions, you are liable to have more settlement on the ends than you would in the centers of your structure, and these locks, as I understand it, are to be in series, in flight—that is, practically connected together.
Senator DRYDEN. Leaving out this danger which you have just now spoken of, do you think that there is any other danger, as to these big vessels crushing these locks?
Mr. WALLACE. No ship ever moved in the world but what there was a liability of its running into something, if there was anything for it to run into, and if its movement was controlled by the human mind. That applies to a ship, it applies to a railroad train, and it applies to everything that moves, the movement of which is directed by the personal element; and if you run into them you are liable of course to crash from one lock down into the other. As long as a vessel or car or anything moves by machinery, and that machinery is controlled by the human mind, you are liable to have errors and you are liable to have accidents happen.
Senator DRYDEN. Can you testify as to the usable length of these locks? There has been some little difference, it has seemed to some of the committee, as to their usable length.
Mr. WALLACE. There seems to be some difference. In reading the testimony I notice that there is evidently a difference as to an appreciation of the facts in the plans. I have not been able to get at the exact drawings, to be able to speak intelligently on that point, but that is a matter that it seems that the Commission ought to be able to show definitely by their actual detailed plans, what the usable length of those locks would be. That they should be a thousand feet long and 100 feet wide, I do not believe would be questioned. I think that should be their minimum dimensions.
Senator ANKENY. Mr. Wallace, I would like to ask you what effect these large vessels in the sea-level canal would have upon those low banks that you speak of; what the effect of the “wash" would be, as we call it.
Would it not wash material into the prism of your channel again?
Mr. WALLACE. No; not the way they propose to build them. They have very flat submerged slopes.
Senator ANKENY. You know there is a danger of that thing, do
Mr. WALLACE. Yes, I know there is; but these vessels move at a very slow speed, and not like our Mississippi River steamboats on high water against the levee.
Senator ANKENY. I had that in mind.
Mr. WALLACE. I supposed that you had. The speed at which the vessel would move through the canal would not be enough to give rise to that danger.
Senator ANKENY. That would not be one of the dangers?