Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 74.djvu/429

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425
THE TYPE OF THE PANAMA CANAL

General U. S. Army (retired): Frederic P. Stearns, chief engineer of the Metropolitan Water and Sewerage Board, Boston; Joseph Ripley, general superintendent of the St. Mary's Falls Canal: Isham Randolph, chief engineer of the Sanitary District, Chicago; Wm. Henry Hunter, chief engineer of the Manchester Ship Canal; Eugen Tincauzer, Königlich Preussischer Regierungs-und-Baurath, Königsherg, Germany; Adolphe Guérard, inspector general des Ponts et Chaussées, France; E. Quellennec, chief engineer des Ponts et Chaussées and consulting engineer of the Suez Canal Company, France; and J. W. Welcker, Hoofdingenieur, Directeur van den Ryks-Waterstaat, The Netherlands.

On this board of engineers were the three members of the first canal commission,[1] General Davis, Professor Burr and Mr. Parsons, who a few months before had submitted a recommendation favoring a sea-level canal. Other members of the board were known to favor a lock canal. The members of the board therefore naturally fell into two groups of which one was friendly to the sea-level, the other to the lock type of canal, and to the committees appointed from these groups was assigned the task of discussing the canal problem from the two divergent standpoints. The board as a whole, however, passed on certain features in order that the conclusions thus reached might serve as a guide in determining other features of the projects. Thus it was resolved that locks should have a usable length of 1,000 feet, a width of 100 feet and a depth of 40 feet. The board determined, too, upon the type and dimensions of the canal section which should be made the basis of a comparison of cost estimates.

The consulting engineers visited the isthmus and thus learned much, by personal observation, of the conditions under which the canal work must be prosecuted.

As a result of their studies the members of the lock-canal committee of the board of engineers submitted four projects. Two of these were for a canal with a summit level at 60 feet and the other two for a canal with its highest section at 85 feet.

Other projects for the lock-type of canal were presented by Mr. Lindon W. Bates, by Mr. P. Bunau-Varilla and by Major C. E. Gillette, of the engineer corps of the U. S. Army. Mr. Bates presented three projects with a preference expressed for a plan including a terminal lake at each end of the canal, of which the lake at tb.e Atlantic end was to be formed by a dam at Mindi and the lake at the Pacific end by dams from Ancon to Sosa Hill and from Sosa Hill across the Rio Grande. Under this project there would also be an intermediate lake, formed by a dam across the Chagres River at Bohio. The summit level suggested was 62 feet.

  1. Of the other members of the first commission Admiral Walker had returned to private life, Major Harrod had been named on the second commission and the writer had accepted the position of chief consulting engineer in the Reclamation Service under the Secretary of the Interior.