Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 74.djvu/438

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

he does not wish to be understood as saying that a lock canal is not practicable.

At the same meeting, Mr. Hunter, of the Manchester Canal, gave expression to his views on the type of canal, explaining that although as a member of the Comité Technique he favored, under the circumstances then prevailing a lock canal, he could not under the altered conditions "undertake the responsibility of joining in a recommendation to the United States for the construction of a lock canal. . . ."

Advocating the adoption of a lock-canal project, on the other hand, Mr. Noble said:

I believe the lock canal affords quicker construction, that the wider and deeper waterways it provides would give better navigation; that the transit of ships would be quicker and that the lock canal would have even a greater capacity for traffic than the narrow waterway proposed by the sea-level canal committee.

Another advocate of the lock type of canal, Mr. Ripley, concurred in the remarks of Mr. Noble and gave as an additional reason for his position the belief that this type of canal would provide for a navigation the limit of which will not be reached in a number of years probably 40 to 75 years, so that the people of the United States will not soon be called upon to make additional expenditures for improving the canal; whereas for a sea-level canal it is quite probable that within a short time, possibly 15 or 25 years, a widening will be necessary which will cost many millions of dollars.

Mr. Parsons, also of the board of engineers, referred to the fact that a canal was to be built for all time, that it was a work of the greatest constructive magnitude ever undertaken. The plan of the canal should be of the broadest and largest possible type which we can conceive. A few years more or less in time is of no consequence. Neither is an additional cost of $50,000,000 or even $100,000,000 of importance, as there will be an adequate return. Accidents similar to those which have occurred on the Manchester and the "Soo" Canals have occurred also in the Welland and other canals. These accidents by great good fortunes have not been disasters. With locks of large size

of the size now contemplated the results would have been more serious. It is not the danger to the ship itself that I have in mind, . . . but the danger to the canal. If at one of these big locks an accident should happen, such as has happened at other locks and as will happen here, and a ship should go plunging through and carry away the safety gates and every other mechanical device for protection, releasing the lake of water that lies behind those locks, the section of the canal between that lock and the ocean terminas would be so destroyed that it would take anywhere from one to five years to put it back in service again. The terminal port itself would be gone, the canal would be out of use, the world's traffic would be deranged and the difference in cost of the two types would be wiped out in a few seconds of time. That risk a great government can not be justified in taking.

With these views before him, and in the light of all the information