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SECTION IN EARTH - PANAMA SEA LEVEL CANAL
New CUNARDER "MAURITANIA" Length 787.6' Beam 88' Draft 37'
whole extent and the water is fresh, the ship will have her keel within 9 inches of the bottom of the canal. But that is based on the supposition that the water is all fresh. If, however, no water is coming into the canal, it will all be salt. Therefore she will have 2 feet of water under her keel. But if the coming in of the fresh water makes the water of the canal brackish (as it certainly will), and there is coming in 15,000 second-feet, which is what the majority estimate may be admitted without danger, what will happen in a hydraulic way? That water, piling into the canal at the rate of 15,000 secondfeet—and that is a lot of water-will at once raise the level of the immediately contiguous portions of the canal until the water can escape, and it will continue to do so, and do so, and do so, and do so more and more, until, instead of the depth of your canal at that point where the Chagres water comes in being limited exactly to 40 feet, it will be 41 feet, perhaps. I do not know what the calculation would show, but it will be quite 41 feet, and it may be 42, and the slope to the sea on either side will take up the difference, and as the sea is approached the waters of the canal will become less and less fresh and more and more salt.
Senator TALIAFERRO. Do you understand, General, that this water from the Chagres will be let into the canal in sufficient quantities to raise the depth of the canal at that point?
General Davis. I am sure that letting in the water at 15,000 feet a second will sensibly raise the level of the water at the point where it comes in, and in a decreasing extent on either side. I do not believe anybody will dispute that proposition.
Senator TALIAFERRO. Do the majority estimate that?
Senator MORGAN. Could you not get rid of that difficulty by deepening the prism of the canal for a few miles?
General Davis. It could be done, sir, but I do not think it is a difficulty. I do not think it really is a difficulty. I do not think that this ship of 38 feet draft is going to appear in the Panama Canal in a generation, or in two generations, drawing 38 feet. The greatest draft of any ships entering New York to-day—these sixteen, seventeen, eighteen thousand ton vessels, twenty or twenty-two thousand ton vessels—is only about 30, 31, or 32 feet.
Senator TALIAFERRO. Still, you hold that if such a ship should offer to go through that canal she could be safely gotten through?
General Davis. We do; and there she is represented [indicating drawing). There is 150 feet bottom width, and there is the Mauritania, one of the new Cunarders, with a draft of 38 feet. She has 2 feet of water under her keel. She is in the canal with a prism 150 feet wide. There she is represented.
Senator TALIAFERRO. And what is the beam of that ship? General Davis. The beam of that ship is 88 feet, and this bottom width is 150 feet. Now, General Ernst had a sketch here showing two of these vessels lying side by side.
Senator KITTREDGE. It is over here, General.
General Davis. No; I took it down. That is mine; that is another. But there is no one that claims that two ships of 88 feet beam can pass in a 150-foot channel. Nobody claims that. Nobody pretends to assert that. This ship, if she did present herself, would have the road cleared for her. It would only be a matter of ten hours for her
to get clear through. Other ships could follow her and others precede her, but she could not pass at speed in any of the narrow parts of the canal unless passing places were arranged for, which would unquestionably be done. She would go through in ten hours as it is, and that is only at the rate of about 5 miles an hour.
Instead of a capacity in the locks for vessels larger than the new Cunarder, it is decidedly doubtful if, as planned, they are adequate for such a ship at all.
Another remark of the Secretary is to the effect that the sea-level canal, as planned, does not fulfill the conditions of the statute so as to afford "* convenient passages,” etc.
If, in the 21 miles of canal where the bottom width is 150 feet, meeting with the 88-feet-wide vessel by other ships were not permitted for two or three hours, the ship of 38 feet draft would find convenient passage; and this remark applies only to vessels of similar size. By the time the number of such vessels desiring transit reached considerable magnitude the canal would have been widened as would be found necessary; and the cost would be moderate, reaching, for the whole line, as estimated by the Commission, $870,000 per foot of increased width. The Commission estimates that it will cost $87,000,000 to widen the sea-level canal to 300 feet throughout. As estimated by the minority, omitting the 4.7 miles at Culebra, the cost is about $500,000 per foot—that is, $50,000,000 is the estimate of the minority for widening the sea-level canal to 300 feet in all places except the 4.7 miles at Culebra, certainly not a prohibitive cost to the United States.
Senator ANKENY. What is your estimate of the cost of carrying the Culebra Cut to the width necessary in addition to the other estimate?
General Davis. I have not figured it, but I presume that the figures of the Commission are about right; they figured up $87,000,000 for the whole line.
Senator TALIAFERRO. Including the Divide?
General Davis. Including the Divide; and the minority of the board estimate $50,000,000 for widening all except Culebra—4.7 miles.
Senator KITTREDGE. Was that action unanimous ?
General Davis. No, no; that is an estimate of the minority. That is found in the minority report.
Senator KITTREDGE. I remember.
General Davis. The majority did not discuss that phase of the question. They believe that a canal 150 and 200 feet wide is wide enough for all purposes of navigation for the next twenty years; and when the time comes that we need more capacity, we will anticipate it and be ready for it.
Senator MORGAN. That means 150 feet at the bottom and 200 feet at the top?
General Davis. No; 150 feet at the bottom in the lower portions and 200 feet at the bottom in the rock portions—that is, 150 feet in earth and 200 in rock.
Senator TALIAFERRO. What would be the top width of that 150foot part of the canal—that part that is 150 feet wide at the bottom?
General Davis. It would be nearly 300 feet wide from this point to that point [indicating].
Senator MORGAN. On the surface?