Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 74.djvu/433

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429
THE TYPE OF THE PANAMA CANAL
Greater capacity for traffic than afforded by the narrow waterway proposed by the board.

Greater safety for ships and less danger of interruption to traffic by reason of the wider and deeper channels which the lock canal makes possible at small cost.

Quicker passage across the Isthmus for large ships or a large traffic.

Materially less time required for construction.

Materially less cost.

The project recommended by the minority, which is the project as now being carried out (except for an enlargement of the locks, a change of lock locations, and the abandonment of the proposed dams on both sides of Sosa Hill at the Pacific end of the canal), includes a dam at Gatun, but none at Bohio, and no dam at Gamboa. The locks were to be 95 feet wide, 900 feet long, and the depth of water was to be 40 feet. The summit level was fixed at 85 feet.

Under the minority plan there were to be at the Pacific end of the canal duplicate locks of one lift of 31 feet each, and twin locks in flights of two at Sosa Hill.

The time required to construct the lock canal was estimated by the minority at about six years less than would be required for a sea-level canal, and the cost of the canal is estimated by them at $139,705,000. They say in their report:

The greater cost of the proposed sea-level canal—upward of $100,000,000 more than that of the lock canal herein advocated—is not a trifling sum even for the resources of the United States. If such an outlay is incurred a greatly superior waterway should be obtained or the expenditure will be unwise and the result discreditable.

The minority then present their views at length, calling attention to the small risk of injury to a well-equipped canal lock; to the equal facility of protecting the canal against injury in time of war, no matter what its type; to the greater liability of delay and injury to shipping in traversing artificial channels at considerable speed than in moving slowly under perfect control through locks; to the greater speed at which the open water above the locks can be navigated; to the reduced time that will be required in the passage through the canal with locks; to the greater amount of traffic that would at the outset be provided for; to the provisions that can be made to prevent accidents at the locks; to the extraordinary dimensions proposed for the earth dams at Gatun and at Sosa Hill; to the fact that time required to make Culebra cut and to construct the locks is about the same. They estimate that six years less time will be required to build the lock canal than to build a sea-level canal.

At the time, January 10, 1906, the board of consulting engineers submitted their majority and minority reports to the Isthmian Canal Commission, the membership of the commission was as follows: T. P. Shouts, chairman; C. E. Magoon, governor of the Canal Zone; Rear