Page images
PDF
EPUB

Governor that we will give that matter further study in our normal, definite project report prior to construction. I imagine that will remove any objection on his part.

You are undoubtedly familiar with the fact that compensating works are merely for the purpose of restoring the cross section of the channel to the condition it would be prior to dredging in order to prevent additional water going through those channels and changing the lake levels in a way definitely that would occur in nature.

You have to reduce the cross section of the channel by the same amount that we deepen it at another point. That is what compensating work is. Compensating work is planned now at this location.

Mr. RANKIN. Is this the Sault Ste. Marie?
Colonel FERINGA. And the connecting channels near Detroit.
Mr. RANKIN. This is the same proposition we had up last year?

Colonel FERINGA. No, sir. Two years ago, when I explained the project on the Sault Ste. Marie it was for hydroelectric machinery being replaced by a new plant. This is replacement of Poe lock and the deepening of connecting channels.

Mr. RANKIN. How deep will it make the channel ?

Colonel FERINGA. The upbound channels would now be made 24 feet deep and the downbound channels 26 feet.

Mr. RANKIN. That is between the two lakes?

Colonel FERINGA. Yes, sir. In brief, what is proposed is an anchorage basin right here at this location, an anchorage basin at this location, a new lock, as illustrated right here, and a widening of a bend at this location, and also deepening part of the width at Amherstburg Channel, and some compensating works.

Mr. RANKIN. Can the barges that travel along the intercoastal waterway navigate the Great Lakes?

Colonel FERINGA. No, sir.
Mr. RANKIN. Why not?

Colonel FERINGA. It is a different type of shipping, Mr. Rankin. I would not say that they could not be made to navigate it, but I cannot imagine that they would be profitable in navigation. The barges are built for the intercoastal waterways, for a 9-foot draft, whereas these ships that we are talking about will have a 24-foot draft. The Great Lakes are very rough. They are 300 to 400 feet deep and subject to quick squalls and, therefore, I do not believe that it would ever be found profitable to use those barges. However, those barges deliver their loads to Chicago by means of the Illinois Waterway and the Calumet-Sag Canal, and discharge their cargo there, and it could be transhipped by boat, and get into the Great Lakes System.

Mr. RANKIN. You mean at Calumet or at Chicago?

Colonel FERINGA. At Chicago. The Illinois Waterway, and the Calumet-Sag Canal, in turn, serves all of this area in southeastern Chicago and into Indiana Harbor.

Mr. RANKIN. Then all of the barges that travel on any of the rivers can go into Chicago?

Colonel FERINGA. Yes, sir; definitely, and they do.

If you look at the graphs which I gave the committee yesterday, you will see the tremendous increase in traffic on the inland waterway system.

The CHAIRMAN. The type they use has been developed through a long period of experimentation. They have tried barges and whalebacks and everything else years and years ago. They have the cheapest form of transportation known in the types of ships they use now.

Mr. RANKIN. On the Great Lakes?
The CHAIRMAN. Yes.

Mr. RANKIN. The thought I was getting at is this, this traffic comes, we will say, from the Intracoastal Waterway, from Galveston and Houston, goes into Chicago. How is it distributed through the other points on the Great Lakes?

Colonel FERINGA. By boat.
Mr. RANKIN. Transferred to boats?

Colonel FERINGA. Yes. I have seen boats in Chicago Harbor, Lake Calumet and in Indiana Harbor. They even winter them. You see one right behind the other. How much of that is distributed, I do not know.

The CHAIRMAN. They go in through the Calumet-Sag Canal and into Lake Calumet, and the ships meet them there.

Mr. RANKIN. Right at Chicago there?

Colonel FERINGA. How much of that is transferred, I do not know, but it certainly can be done and has been contemplated for many years in terminal planning.

I would like to invite the attention of the committee to the last chart in that book of graphs I gave which shows the traffic for the Great Lakes and that there has been a steady increase in traffic. For instance, in 1937 the ton-miles amounted to 48,329,000,000, and in 1944 that traffic amounted to 118,769,000,000 ton-miles.

Mr. Chairman, Mr. Sabin is here, and I believe he could talk as long as you want him to on this very subject. He knows more about it than I do.

The CHAIRMAN. We will hear from him.

STATEMENT OF L. C. SABIN, VICE PRESIDENT, LAKE CARRIERS

ASSOCIATION, CLEVELAND, OHIO Mr. SABIN. Mr. Chairman and gentlemen: A question was raised regarding the relative traffic in the several locks at present in operation and I happen to have the figure for the last few years, although they have not been published yet.

In 1945, the Poe lock passed 13,000,000 tons registry, but only 906,000 tons of freight, indicating the use of that lock was for upbound light vessels. At the same time the Davis lock in 1945 passed 32,000,000 tons of freight, and the Sabin lock 36,000,000 tons. The MacArthur lock carried 47,000,000 tons, the MacArthur lock being used for all of the larger vessels drawing around 23 to 24 feet.

The CHAIRMAN. Are some of those locks used exclusively for upstream traffic?

Mr. SABIN. Yes, sir, the Poe lock is practically in that class now. Hardly any boats that go through that and very few go through the Canadian lock downbound.

The Lake Carriers' Association, in existence for more than a half century, has enrolled in its membership 315 ships with gross register of 2,000,000 tons and trip capacity of more than 3,000,000 tons of

freight. The ships of the association are engaged in transportation on the Great Lakes and carry more than 85 percent of the bulk commerce which for the past 5 years has averaged 178,000,000 tons annually.

The Lake Carriers Association is interested in all of the improvements covered in this report which may be listed as follows, covering the estimated first cost of construction and the estimated annual cost of carrying charges, maintenance, and operation.

[blocks in formation]

There are now four locks at St. Marys Falls Canal—the Poe built in 1887–96, being the oldest, with original width of 100 feet and depth at present low water datum of less than 17 feet. The twin locks, built from 1906–19 are 800 feet wide and 1,350 feet long, with depth at low water datum of 23.1 feet. The latest to be built is the single length MacArthur lock, with width of 80 feet, length 800 feet and depth of 31 feet.

The construction of the Poe lock, begun in 1887 and opened in 1896 has thus been in active service for 50 years. The floor of the lock is of timber and has required repairs nearly every winter for the past 25 years. The side walls are of limestone masonry, the outer faces being of cut stone. This stone has spalled badly and during the construction of the MacArthur lock adjacent to the south wall in 1942 it appeared the wall was so shattered that the lock was out of commission for more than a month and required eventually a new face wall of concrete 5 feet thick to render it safe for use.

The larger vessels now operating on the Lakes have lengths up to 640 feet, width up to 64 to 70 feet,

and able to draw 24 feet according to their legal load line marks. The only lock now in service able to pass these ships fully loaded, when the water level is at low water datum, is the new MacArthur lock. An injury to that lock, either accidental or otherwise putting it out of operation, would prevent these larger ships from passing the canal. Those already loaded would have to be lightered and subsequent loading would have to be curtailed to so reduce the draft as to allow them to pass the Davis and Sabin locks; a reduction amounting to some 200 tons per trip.

Vessels approaching the canal have had a trip of from 150 to 600 miles. During this trip they have been subject to delays by fog or other causes resulting in congestion at the locks. The loading and unloading facilities at the terminals are such that the ships can be turned out with a high degree of regularity, but when delays occur en route this regularity is broken and the number arriving in a certain day may exceed the lock capacity, thus causing further delays to the ships. The capacity of a lockage system is, therefore, much greater when ships arrive with regularity. If important delays are to be

avoided excess capacity must be available to care for these inevitable congested periods. During construction of the MacArthur lock in 1942, damage to the Poe lock put it out of commission for 39 days, and during this period the average number of passages per day fell off nearly 2 vessels, with excessive loss in vessel operation.

The condition of the Poe lock indicates it has outlived its usefulness; repairs would be very difficult and expensive. A replacement is needed to serve as a spare lock for heavily loaded ships and to increase the capacity of the system in times of congestion.

From 1935 to 1944 the annual average number of passages of all locks including the Canadian, was 20,000. The traffic amounted to 86,814,000 tons, of which 71 percent was iron ore, 14 percent coal and 10 percent grain, the remaining 5 percent being miscellaneous freight. In 1942, the canals at Sault Ste. Marie passed 94,000,000 net tons, or 84,000,000 gross tons of iron ore. This was about 75 percent of the iron ore used in the United States production of iron and steel. While the movement of the several commodities in peacetime is highly important, its contribution to national security in wartime can hardly be exaggerated.

Amherstburg Channel-Detroit River: The down-bound channel in the lower Detroit River has minimum depth of 26 feet permitting a safe draft of 23.1 feet. At the lower end the route is divided, separating the up- and down-bound channels; vessels down-bound using the 26 foot Livingstone Channel west of Bois Blanc Island and the up-bound taking the Amherstburg Channel east of the island, which has a depth of 21 feet with allowable draft of 18 feet at low-water draft.

Under conditions of high water prevailing during midsummer of the past 3 years it has been possible to draw as much as 21.5 feet during the high-water period. In 1943 there were about 5,000 ships passing up-bound with draft in excess of 18 feet. The extra cargo carried by reason of this high-water condition may be estimated as 4 to 5 million tons of up-bound cargo, mainly coal. The transport of this volume by extra loading without much additional expense would represent à saving of some $2,000,000 in such a high-water period as compared with a year when low-water draft levels prevailed. But considering that higher drafts can be carried during the years when the prevailing water levels are naturally above datum, it is probably one-quarter of this amount, or a half million dollars might better represent the actual saving under average conditions.

The principal advantage of the proposed deepening must be found in the use of the deeper channel for down-bound ships in case the Livingstone Channel were blocked. Under present conditions if the Livingstone Channel were closed, by accident or otherwise, all downbound ships for Lake Erie, already loaded to draft in excess of that prevailing in the up-bound Amherstburg Channel, would require either lightering the cargo wherever facilities could be found or waiting until the Livingston Channel could be reopened. During the period of closure all vessels capable of loading in excess of the Amħerstburg Channel draft would sacrifice a part of their capacity. Should such a closure of the Livingstone Channel continue for 30 days due to a serious accident, such as sinking a ship in the 450-foot Channel, the money loss would be important. However, should such

a stoppage occur in time of national emergency the reduction in the amount of ore, stone, and grain that could be delivered during the season estimated at about 1.7 million tons would be equal to the removal of six ships from the carrying fleet. The resulting curtailment in steel production would be most serious, and the cost of preventing such a loss should not be considered a governing factor.

In the upper St. Marys River navigating conditions due to ice in the first of the season, and fog throughout the year, make it necessary for ships to come to anchor for periods ranging from an hour to more than a day. Room for such anchorage can be found only in the extreme upper end of the river, some 15 miles above the St. Marys Falls Canal. At the slow rate of safe navigation from these remote anchorage grounds to the locks it is difficult so to coordinate the movement of vessels with the operation of the locks as to assure full use of the locks and avoid delay to vessels. Moreover, the crowding of the ships in the endeavor to save time results in injury by collision and possible grounding.

In the lower river vessels are frequently able to proceed downstream to Lake Nicolet when visibility is limited, but are not able safely to enter the 300-foot-wide channel leading through the lower end of the lake to the rock-bound channel of the West Neebish. Under these conditions down-bound vessels must anchor in the lake and the present 1,500 foot width of channel through the main portion of the lake does not furnish sufficient room for a large number of ships to anchor and maneuver without blocking the up-bound channel from Middle Neebish. The provision of the additional 1,000 foot width is considered a reasonable addition to navigation facilities.

That reach of St. Clair River known as Southeast Bend accommodates all traffic between Lake Huron and Lake Erie, amounting in 1944 to 123,000,000 tons and for the past 5 years averaged 117,000,000, or in excess of the entire traffic of New York Harbor. At this point the channel has a change in direction of about 110° in a distance of less than 2 miles. The present project width is only 600 feet, while the channels through the main portion of the St. Clair River are 1,000 feet wide.

Several years ago it was recommended that a separate down-bound straight channel be cut across the point. This plan was not favorably acted on by your committee but widening of the reach was approved. The present report recommends a width of 800 feet which should appreciably reduce the hazard of vessels meeting and passing in the present 600 foot channel.

In the case of North Channel, St. Clair River Delta, costing $40,000, the dredging of a shoal at the outlet of this channel is to provide better facilities for small craft. It will serve to some extent to remove the smaller-class boats from the deep-water channels serving commerce, to the mutual advantage of both classes of traffic.

The traffic of the Great Lakes consists mainly of the bulk commodities-iron ore, coal, grain, and limestone. The maximum annual total of these commodities amounted to 184,000,000 tons in 1944 and the annual average for the past 5 years was 178,000,000. This quantity was composed of 52 percent iron ore, 31 percent coal, 7 percent grain, and 10 percent stone.

« PreviousContinue »