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ON JULY 7, 1930


July 7, 1930.


The Secretary of the Interior announced to-day that construction of the Boulder Canyon project had commenced, immediately on the President's signature of the appropriation bill.

The engineer in charge, Mr. Walker R. Young, and his assistants, were already on the ground waiting telegraphic instructions. The first day's work began the staking out of the railroad and the construction road, surveys of which have already been completed, laying out streets for the town site, and continuation of surveys for the water supply system.

The order which started construction was signed by the Secretary immediately following the President's signature of the appropriation bill, and read as follows:

Order No. 436
Hon. Elwood MEAD,

Commissioner of Reclamation.
Sir: You are directed to commence construction on Boulder
Dam to-day.


Secretary. The Secretary stated that the plans and specifications are being carried to completion with all possible expedition, looking to the advertising of bids and the awarding of construction contracts at the earliest possible date. Following the completion of the work begun to-day on the railroad, construction road, town site, and water works, the money appropriated will be used to commence construction of the cofferdams and diversion tunnels.

In announcing the commencement of construction, the Secretary made the following statement:

“The Boulder Dam will signalize our national conquest over the Great American Desert. With dollars, men, and engineering brains we will build a great natural resource.

We will make new geography, and start a new era in the southwestern part of the United States. With Imperial Valley no longer menaced by floods, new hope and new financial credit will be given to one of the largest irrigation districts in the West. By increasing the water supply of Los Angeles and the surrounding cities, homes and industries are made possible for many millions of people. A great new source of power forecasts the opening of new mines and the creation of new industries in Arizona, Nevada, and California.

“To bring about this transformation requires a dam higher than any which the engineer has hitherto conceived or attempted to build. It is to be placed in the bottom of a canyon, whose walls rise over 2,000 feet and through which flows a turbulent river, at times carrying a flow equal to the average of the Mississippi at St. Louis.

“The dam is to be built in a region of intense summer heat, amid desert surroundings and where the public lands, in large part, are being surveyed for the first time.

“To build the dam economically and efficiently requires that special attention be given to those factors which influence the health and energy of the workers. A thousand men will be employed over a period of five to eight years. Many of these will have families, and this means that the town to be created near the dam site will have a population of 4,000 to 5,000 people. This town will not be a temporary construction camp. During the time that the dam is under construction, thousands of tourists will each year visit this section. When it has been completed, the lake 100 miles in length above it will draw other thousands because of its scenic beauties. Plans accordingly have been made to lay out a town which will represent the most

modern ideas in town planning. “The water works will be similar in character to those built at Yuma, Ariz., where the conditions of climate and water are similar to those at Boulder Dam.

“From the town site to the dam is about three miles. The town will be connected with the outside world by an automobile road and a railroad about 30 miles in length. It is not necessary that construction of the tunnels to divert the river shall await the completion of these facilities of living and transportation. There is a good road from Las Vegas to the canyon. Much of the equipment needed in tunnel construction can be hauled in over this road. A temporary construction camp can be located on the river and the construction of the tunnels thereby expedited.

“These diversion tunnels will be four in number, each 50 feet in diameter. Because of their size, their excavation will be very much like the operation of a quarry. The greatest problem will be the disposal of the excavated material. Part of it will be needed to build the cofferdams that will be placed in the river, above and below the site of the dam, to keep the water out of the excavation where the foundation of the dam is to be placed.

“The building of the road, the railroad, the tunnels, and the cofferdams will all precede the beginning of the great wedge, over 700 feet high, that is to close this river. While these earlier works are being built the final detailed plans for the dam will be completed. Only engineers who have had considerable familiarity with dams and power development can fully appreciate all that is involved in these plans. The dam is not merely a mass of concrete to hold the water back. It is a complex industrial structure traversed by pipes and corridors, in which will be placed the regulating gates and the valves for the dynamos which will generate a million horsepower of electrical energy and the wasteways for controlling floods.

"Of the initial appropriation of $10,660,000, $2,500,000 will be used to build the railroad, $525,000 will be expended in the construction of waterworks, laying out the town, building streets, sewers, and other conveniences of the town, and in the construction of a main office building for the Government engineers and clerical staff and 25 homes for its permanent employees at the dam.

“The greater part of the 150,000 acres which will be flooded is public land, but scattered through it are small areas of privately owned land, the largest one being in the valley of the Virgin River.

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