« PreviousContinue »
the Secretary of War. As a part of furnishing lands, local interests at Bethlehem must provide new superstructure and road approaches to the Main Street Bridge, construct new road approaches to Lehigh Avenue Bridge, and construct necessary intercepting storm-water sewers.
The Reports of the Board of Engineers for Rivers and Harbors and of the Chief of Engineers with the comments of the Governor of Pennsylvania are as follows:)
Washington, January 31, 1946. The CHAIRMAN, COMMITTEE ON FLOOD CONTROL,
House of Representatives, Washington, D. C. MY DEAR MR. CHAIRMAN: 1. The Committee on Flood Control of the House of Representatives, by resolution adopted October 20, 1942, requested the Board of Engineers for Rivers and Harbors to review the report on the Delaware River and its tributaries submitted to Congress on August 4, 1941, with a view to determining whether recommendations contained therein for the Lehigh River, especially at Bethlehem, Allentown, and Easton, Pa., should be modified at this time in the light of recent floods in that area. I enclose the report of the Board in response thereto.
2. After full consideration of the reports secured from the district and division engineers, the Board recommends improvement of Lehigh River, Pa., for flood control by construction of Bear Creek Reservoir and local protection works at Allentown and Bethlehem substantially in accordance with the plan outlined in the report of the district engineer, and with such modifications thereof as in the discretion of the Secretary of War and the Chief of Engineers may be advisable, at an estimated cost of $12,471,000 for construction, and $10,000 annually for operation and maintenance of the dam and reservoir ; provided that no money shall be expended on the construction of the local protection works in Allentown and Bethlehem until responsible local interests have given assurances satisfactory to the Secretary of War that they will provide without cost to the United States all lands, easements, and rights-of-way necessary for the construction of the improvements, hold and save the United States free from damages due to the construction works, and maintain and operate the works after completion in accordance with regulations prescribed by the Secretary of War.
3. After due consideration of these reports, I concur in the views and recommendations of the Board. Very truly yours,
R. A. WHEELER, Lieutenant General, Chief of Engineers.
Washington, October 15, 1945.
1. This report is in response to the following resolution adopted October 20, 1942:
"Resolved by the Committee on Flood Control, House of Representatives, That the Board of Engineers for Rivers and Harbor's created under Section 3 of the Rivers and Harbors Act approved June 13, 1902, be, and is hereby requested to review the report on the Delaware River and its tributaries submitted to Congress on August 4, 1941, with a view to determining whether recommendations contained therein for the Lehigh River, especially at Bethlehem, Allentown, and Easton, Pennsylvania, should be modified at this time in the light of recent fioods in that area."
2. The Lehigh River, a tributary of the Delaware River, rises in Wayne County, flows southwesterly 33 miles to White Haven, thence southeasterly 54 miles to Allentown and thence 16 miles northeasterly to enter the Delaware River at Easton, Pa. The drainage area of 1,370 square miles embraces portions
of nine counties in northeastern Pennsylvania. The headwater portion of the basin above White Haven, Pennsylvania, lies within the Appalachian Plateau, with elevations ranging from 1,500 to 2,000 feet above sea level and contains numerous lakes and swamps. The remainder lies within the Appalachian Valley Province, where the course of the main river is in general transverse to the numerous steep mountain ridges. Tributaries of the Lehigh River are small streams, the largest, with drainage areas, being Little Lehigh Creek, 107.0 square miles; Aquashicola Creek, 81.2 square miles; Pohopoco Creek, 111.7 square miles; and Tobyhanna Creek, 128.3 square miles. The basin had a population of 393,000 in 1940, nearly half of which was concentráted in the three largest cities, Allentown, population 97,000; Bethlehem, population 58,500; and Easton, population 33,600. The lower part of the basin in Lehigh and Northampton Counties is highly developed both agriculturally and industrially, withi most of the land devoted to raising farm and truck crops. Lehigh County is one of the most important cement-producing areas in the country, while Northam ton County produces nearly half of the slate quarried in the United States. Large quantities of steel, textiles, ceramics, glass, paper, and food products are also manufactured. Monroe and Wayne Counties, in the upper part of the basin, are sparsely populated, the most important resources being game, fish, limestone and sandstone, whereas Carbon and Luzerne. Counties constitute the principal anthracite-producing center of the basin. There are no existing Federal projects for improvement of Lehigh River for navigation or flood control. Canalizatiom of the river between the mouth and White Haven was completed by local interests in 1838 and served as an important artery of commerce for many years. However, water-borne traffic has now ceased. Twelve small dams in the basin are maintained principally to supply water for industrial purposes and for derelopment of hydroelectric power at 14 small plants having a combined installed capacity of 2,054 horsepower. The basin is served by a network of railroads and highways.
3. The average annual precipitation on the Lehigh River watershed is 45.2: inches. The average annual snowfall is 45 inches. The region is subject to severe rainstorms which cause frequent flooding of portions of the troughlike valley. Flood problems are caused by Monocacy Creek, drainage area 49.6: square miles, which flows through Bethlehem and enters the Lehigh River within. the city; Jordan Creek, drainage area 81.0 square miles, which enters Little Lehigh Creek in Allentown, about one-quarter mile above the mouth of the latter ; Mauch Chunk Creek, drainage area 8.9 square miles, which flows through the town of Match Chunk in an inadequate, closed flume, about 5,000 feet in length; and Black Creek, drainage area 62.6 square miles, which flows through the town of Weatherly, located 5 miles above the mouth. Five outstanding floods have occurred since the beginning of reliable stream-flow records in 1902, of which the flood of May 1942, was the largest known in the basin. It inundated 2,800 acres of developed land, involving property valued at more than $500,000,.000, disrupted all means of travel and communication, stopped all commerce, and caused estimated direct and indirect damages of $11,800,000. Other serious floods occurred in 1933, 1935, and 1936. The average annual preventable flood damage in the entire basin is estimated at $722,100.
4. Local interests desire that a comprehensive flood-control project be developed for the entire Lehigh River basin which will provide relief from damages: caused by floods on the main stream, as well as on the tributaries. The Lehigh Valley Flood Council suggests construction of reservoirs in the upper reaches of the stream as the most economical means of accomplishing the purpose. The State of Pennsylvania proposes to establish the necessary floodways and to keep them free from encroachments or obstructions. No. definite offers of local cooperation have been made, but the district engineer believes that such will be forthcoming.
5. The district engineer has investigated various means of providing the desired relief from flood damage. He finds that the most practical plan of improvement consists of (a) construction of a food-control reservoir having a storage capacity of 110,000 acre-feet at spillway level, with the dam in Lehigh River below the mouth of Bear Creek ; (6) local protection at Allentown by means of channel rectification and enlargement, and construction of a training dike, levees and incidental structures; and (c) local protection at Bethlehem by means of flood walls or levees with incidental structures and the necessary pumping plants, both on the main river and Monocacy Creek. The proposed dam below the mouth of Bear Creek would be an earth or rockfill structure 2,900 feet long and rising 233 feet above the valley floor. A natural saddle three-quarters of a mile from the right end of the dam would serve as the spillway, with
crest elevation of 1,450 feet above sea level. The 110,000 acre-feet of storage capacity in the reseryoir is equivalent to 7.2 inches of run-off from the 288 square miles of drainage area above the dam site. The estimated Federal and nonFederal first cost of the entire plan is $12,471,000 and $514,000, respectively. The total annual cost is estimated as $572,000, including $10,000 for operation and maintenance of the reservoir. The proposed improvement would eliminate the most serious flood damage along the river between the proposed dam and Easton, and would provide average annual tangible direct and indirect benefits of $589,000, which gives a ratio of annual cost to benefits of 1.00 to 1.03. Resulting intangible benefits would materially improve the economic ratio. The major portion of flood damages at Easton is caused by floods on Delaware River and the district engineer finds that improvement for flood protection is not warranted at this time because of the high cost. The cost of protective measures at Mauch Chunk, Weatherly, and other damage centers is also much greater than warranted by the resulting benefits.
6. The distriet engineer recommends authorization of a flood-control project for Lehigh River, Pa., consisting of a reservoir formed by a dam on the main river below the mouth of Bear Creek, and local protective works in Allentown and Bethlehem, substantially as described in his report, with such modifications as may be advisable in the discretion of the Secretary of War and the Chief of Engineers, at an estimated first cost to the United States of $12,471,000, with $10,000 annually for maintenance and operation of the reservoir; provided that responsible local interests give assurances satisfactory to the Secretary of War, regarding the local improvements, that they will provide without cost to the United States all lands, easements, and right-of-way necessary for their construction, hold and save the United States free from damages due to the construction of these works, and maintain and operate them after completion in accordance with regulations prescribed by the Secretary of War. The division engineer concurs.
7. Local interests were advised as to the conclusions of the division engineer and were invited to submit additional data to the Board of Engineers for Rivers and Harbors. The Board has given careful consideration to the views expressed by local interests in communications received.
VIEWS AND RECOMMENDATIONS OF THE BOARD OF ENGINEERS FOR RIVERS AND HARBORG
8. The Board of Engineers for Rivers and Harbors has carefully considered the reports of the district and division engineers and the data submitted by local interests. It finds that there is urgent need for improvements to protect the communities, commerce, and industry along the Lehigh River from recurring flood damage, which is becoming more serious from year to year. The proposed Bear Creek Reservoir would materially reduce damage from floods along the Lehigh River between the proposed dam and Easton. The local protection works at Allentown and Bethlehem would greatly reduce residual flood damages at Allentown and would provide complete protection for practically all of Bethlehem from floods up to one 20 percent greater than that of 1942. The cost of the improvement is warranted by the estimated resulting tangible direct and indirect benefits. Improvements for flood control at Easton and other damage centers are not warranted at this time.
9. The Board recommends improvement of Lehigh River, Pa., for flood control by construction of Bear Creek Reservoir and local protection works at Allentown and Bethlehem substantially in accordance with the plan outlined in the report of the district engineer, and with such modifications thereof as in the discretion of the Secretary of War and the Chief of Engineers may be advisable, at an estimated cost of $12,471,000 for construction, and $10,000 annually for operation and maintenance of the dam and reservoir; provided that no money shall be expended on the construction of the local protection works in Allentown and Bethlehem until responsible local interests have given assurances satisfactory to the Secretary of War that they will provide, without cost to the United States, all lands, easements, and rights-of-way necessary for the construction of the improvements, hold and save the United States free from damages due to the construction works, and maintain and operate the works after completion in accordance with regulations prescribed by the Secretary of War. For the Board :
THOMAS M. ROBINS, Major General, Senior Member.
COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA,
Harrisburg, November 14, 1945. Maj. Gen. THOMAS W. ROBINS, Acting Chief of Engineers, War Department,
Washington, D. C. DEAR GENERAL ROBINS: I acknowledge receipt of a copy of the proposed report of the Chief of Engineers on a review of the Lehigh River, Pa., for improvements, in the vicinity of Bethlehem, Allentown, and Easton.
Our engineers have given careful consideration to this report and, upon their recommendation, I can assure you that, upon favorable action by Congress, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is prepared to give the necessary assurances of cooperation and to meet its obligation of the costs and conditions which this report presents.
As requested in your letter of November 5, the report will be considered as "not for public release.” Very sincerely,
Colonel HERB. I do not recall that figure off-hand.
Mr. ALLEN. In other words, the benefits there would be only three one-hundredths of 1 percent, is that right?
Colonel HERB. No, sir; the benefits would exceed the cost by 3 percent. Mr. Allen. The benefits would exceed the costs by 3 percent ? Colonel HERB. That is right, sir. Mr. ALLEN. That is a pretty low ratio. . Colonel HERB. About 3 percent, sir. Mr. ALLEN. That is true. What about the cultivatable land that has been flooded ordinarily? I believe you said there were about 2,000 acres.
Colonel HERB. There were 2,800 acres inundated in the flood of May 1942.
Mr. ALLEN. That was the maximum flood of record ? Colonel HERB. That is correct, sir. Mr. ALLEN. I judge from your testimony, Colonel, that this is being proposed largely to protect the manufacturing cities; is that right?
Colonel HERB. That is correct; the largest benefits accrue to the industrial area of this valley..
Mr. ALLEN. In connection with that, I am wondering how much actual city property was flooded in 1942.
Colonel HERB. I can get that for the record. I do not have that with me.
(The following statement was inserted for the record :) During the 1942 flood the following city property was affected at Allentown: Two hundred and thirteen residences, involving a total of 1,012 persons, 37 industries, and 72 commercial businesses. At Bethlehem, 174 homes were affected, involving 201 families, 7 industries, and 43 business establishments.
I Mr. ALLEN. That would be important for the reason that you are so close to the border line. In connection with your statement as to the damages, I think you should break it down.
Mr. Chairman, I think that is all.
The CHAIRMAN. Any questions by Mr. Davis? Mr. Davis. No questions. The CHAIRMAN. Any questions by Mr. Robertson? Mr. ROBERTSOX. No questions. The CHAIRMAX. Any questions by Mr. Adams? Mr. Adams. I believe not. The CHAIRMAN. We are glad to have had your statement. . With respect to the matter of costs and benefits, is it fair to say that there is being required of the local interests $10,000 annually under the recommendations for operation and maintenance of the dam?
Colonel HERB. No, sir; not for the operation and maintenance of the dam. There are nonfederal costs of the local protection projects of $10,000 for Allentown and $19,000 for Bethlehem annually.
The CHAIRMAN. Not for the dam but for local maintenance ?
The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Walter, the distinguished representative of the district involved is here. We will be glad to hear any statement you care to submit at this time, Mr. Walter. .
I would like to say, with your permission, before you proceed, that we have a telegram from Mr. James A. Allen, executive secretary of the Interstate Commission of the Delaware River Basin, the agency of the States of New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Delaware entrusted with the responsibility of securing a coordinated development of the land and water resources of the Delaware River watershed, urging the committee to approve the project.
I will ask the reporter to insert the telegram in the record at this point. (The telegram referred to is as follows:)
PHILADELPHIA, PA., April 9, 1946. Hon. WILLIAM M. WHITTINGTON, Chairman, Committee on Flod control,
United States House of Representatives, Washington, D. C.: The Interstate Commission on the Delaware River Basin, the agency of the States of New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Delaware entrusted with the responsibility to securing a coordinated development of the land and water resources of the Delaware River watershed. Endorses the Chief of Engineers recommendations for the control of floods in the Lehigh River Valley and urges your committee's approval thereof.
JAMES H. ALLEN, Erecutive Secretary. The CHAIRMAN. All right, Mr. Walter.