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RIVERS AND HARBORS BILL
MONDAY, APRIL 15, 1946
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES,
Washington, D.C. The committee met at 10:30 a. m., pursuant to adjournment, Hon. Hugh Peterson of Georgia presiding.
Mr. PETERSON of Georgia. The committee will come to order. Our distinguished chairman, Mr. Mansfield, is out of the city today and I will, therefore, have the honor of serving as acting chairman while
The committee will now proceed with the hearings on the proposed projects. Colonel Feringa.
he is away.
FRANKLIN CANAL, ST. MARY PARISH, LA.
STATEMENT OF COL. P. A. FERINGA, RESIDENT ENGINEER OF THE
BOARD OF ENGINEERS FOR RIVERS AND HARBORS, WASHING-
Mr. Chairman, the report on Franklin Canal, St. Mary Parish, La., is in response to a resolution adopted February 26, 1945, by the Senate Commerce Committee.
Franklin Canal is a small tidal channel serving drainage and navigation in southern Louisiana. It extends from the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway at a point 121 miles west of the Mississippi River at New Orleans, northeasterly up Bayou Portage for 0.75 mile and thence continues northeasterly 5.15 miles into the town of Franklin, La., on Bayou Teche.
It is in effect a canal that connects the present Intracoastal Waterway with the town of Franklin.
There is no existing Federal project for improvement of the canal. It was dredged in 1902 to a depth of 6 feet and a width of 40 feet by local interests, who have expended in excess of $150,000 for its construction and maintenance. The recent controlling depth in its lower 4 miles is 7 feet and. above that 6 feet.
Commerce on Franklin Canal consists of small tonnages of steel products, sea foods, logs, and furs which, because of the present limitations of channel and bridge that severely handicap its use, are moved in small boats with drafts of less than 6 feet. About 100 sea food and trappers' boats and 7 vessels engaged in miscellaneous business operate in the area and recreational craft use the canal.
Franklin had a population of 4,274 in 1940. A principal occupation is the taking of sea food from the coastal and Gulf waters. Sea-food processing plants and an iron works are located at the head of Franklin Canal
. The trapping of fur-bearing animals from the marshes is a considerable source of income and these lands are also used for grazing.
Local interests desire deepening and widening of Franklin Canal to accommodate sea-food vessels, serve more adequately the local iron works and effect a reduction in freight rates. The Louisiana Department of Public Works has advised that a channel 8 feet deep and 60 feet wide will be sufficient, that the enlargment would materially benefit local drainage, and that it is willing to bear up to one-third of the construction cost. The local interests also offer to cede the existing canal to the United States, furnish rights-of-way and spoildisposal areas for its enlargement, and to make necessary alterations of highways and bridges.
In the opinion of the Board of Engineers for Rivers and Harbors the enlargement of Franklin Canal as proposed would afford adequate channel dimensions and would constitute a needed and worth-while adjunct to the Intracoastal Waterway.
In passing, Mr. Chairman, I again want to point out to the committee that in accordance with this book the gross amount of tonnage that is being carried by inland waterways is constantly increasing, that for all the inland waterways of the country 10 years ago there was less than 9,000,000,000 ton-miles carried on the inland waaterways. Now, it is well over 30,000,000,000 ton-miles, and this would, in effect, be a feeder to that system.
Mr. PITTENGER. How many miles did you say were involved in this project?
Colonel FERINGA. About 6 miles.
Colonel FERINGA. Well, the local people paid for the canal as it has been dug. What is recommended now is that the United States take it over and deepen it and widen it and also take care of its maintenance. So, I could also say that it would be a good thing for the whole United States.
Mr. PITTENGER. That is what I wanted you to say because I like to have my neighbors get all that there is of the good things within a particular vicinity where they live, and I am in favor of the taxpayers helping out these prosperous people down in Louisiana because I think when you do that and make them happy it makes everybody in the world happy. I am glad to see this far-flung viewpoint here, and I know the Army engineers feel it to a marked degree.
Colonel FERINGA. The Board recommends modification of the existing project for the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway between Apalachee Bay, Fla., and the Mexican border, to provide for improvement of Franklin Canal as a connecting channel therefrom to Franklin, La., to afford a channel 8 feet deep and generally 60 feet wide with a width of 100 feet in its upper 300 feet.
The improvement is recommended provided that local interests (a) make a cash contribution equal to one-third of the cost of construction but not to exceed $22,000, (6) furnish free of cost to the United States a suitable right-of-way not less than 300 feet wide including cession of the existing canal, together with suitable spoildisposal areas for the new work and subsequent maintenance when and as required, (c) remove or alter existing bridges and modify land-transportation facilities along the canal as required to implement the improvement, (d) agree to provide adequate terminal facilities open to all on equal terms, and (e) furnish satisfactory assurances that they will hold and save the United States free from damages resulting from construction and maintenance of the improvements.
The cost to the United States for new work is $43,300; local contribution, not to exceed $22,000; and the estimated cost of new work, $65,000.
Cost to local interests for road and bridge modification, $6,000. Federal carrying charges : Maintenance, $500; interest and amortization, $2,600; total $3,100; carrying charges to local interests, $400:
Prospective average annual commerce for the canal 10,000 tons of sugar, 3,600 tons of steel for the iron works, and 3,400 tons of sea food. Considering only the savings in terminal transfer charges the annual benefits are estimated at $3,500, which equals the estimated annual cost. In addition drainage benefits not evaluated in monetary terms will result and the enlarged canal will provide ample frontage for safe mooring of local and transient boats.
The Governor of Louisiana in accordance with a recent letter that has been forwarded with the report is in favor thereof.
Mr. PETERSON of Georgia. We will proceed with the statement of Colonel Feringa on this relatively small project here, which we will conclude now without objection on the part of the members.
Mr. LARCADE. Mr. Chairman, I ask that Mr. Pyburn, the director of public works, be permitted to testify at this time.
Mr. PETERSON of Georgia. If you will confine your remarks to this particular project.
STATEMENT OF DEWITT L. PYBURN, DIRECTOR OF PUBLIC WORKS,
STATE OF LOUISIANA
Mr. PYBURN. Mr. Chairman, and gentlemen of the committee, this is very small project in dollars and cents, but it is a very important one, and I should just like to file this statement, and also to state that the department of public works has funds on hand at this time to take care of the local contribution required as recommended by the Corps of Engineers.
Mr. PETERSON of Georgia. I am impressed by the fact that the local interests will contribute one-third of the cost of construction, not to exceed $22,000, which is somewhat unusual in rivers and harbors projects, for which you people are to be commended.
Mr. PYBURN. Thank you. Mr. Chairman, we have a State-wide drainage program under way down there whereby the State of Louisiana has $5,000,000 to assist in projects of this kind and other Federal projects in Louisiana to try to put them together into one vast drainage program. We have the funds on hand and are ready to proceed.
The statement submitted by Mr. Pyburn is as follows:)
STATEMENT OF JUSTIFICATION FOR IMPROVEMENT FOR NAVIGATION OF FRANKLIN
(Prepared by the Department of Public Works, State of Louisiana) Franklin Canal, in St. Mary Parish, La., is a small tidal channel which extends from the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway 5.15 miles north into the town of Franklin, La.
The town of Franklin has a present population of more than 6,000. It is the seat of government for St. Mary Parish and the trading center for a large and fertile agricultural and oil-producing area. It has other transportation connections, consisting of the Southern Pacific Railroad (main line); Missouri Pacific Railroad (branch line); United States Highway 90, which is paved; several gravel roads connecting it with the industries and agricultural developments of the parish; and Bayou Teche.
The Franklin Canal was dredged by local interests in 1902 to a depth of 6 feet and bottom width of 40 feet to serve as a drainage artery of adjacent farm lands and to provide a navigation connection to Franklin, La. The total expenditures on this canal to date total $150,000. At the time of its construction, the navigation canal with which the Franklin Canal connected at the lower end, had usable dimensions of about 5 feet deep by 40-foot bottom width.
During the period since 1902 the little canal has proved very useful and sev. eral sea-food plants and an iron works plant have located on it. In addition to the industries on the canal, there are several sawmills, sugar mills, and a clam shell handling plant, located within a 5-mile radius of the head of the canal. Commerce on the Franklin Canal consists of barge movement via the Intracoastal Waterway and fishing boats from coastal waters.
The Gulf Intracoastal Waterway, the trunk-line waterway which parallels the coast from Carrabelle, Fla., to Corpus Christi, Tex., has recently been dredged to a depth of 12 feet by 125 feet. The enlargement of this splendid waterway is of great benefit to the Nation, and particularly to the area which it serves. However, this enlargement has resulted in greatly increasing the depth of draft of the regular commerce using it. Since the Franklin Canal cannot accommodate the regular traffic of its connecting waterway, it is placed in the same category as a narrow gage railroad connecting with one of standard gage. Enlargement of the canal sufficiently to accommodate the barges used in the regular commerce of the Intracoastal has become imperative.
An additional reason for enlarging the Franklin Canal lies in the fact that whereas the shrimping business in the past has been confined to the shallow draft channels of coastal bays and sounds, it has been discovered in the last few years that unlimited quantities of much larger shrimp can be taken in the deeper adjacent waters of the Gulf. Shrimping in the Gulf, however, requires boats with considerably more draft than formerly used, and processing plants can only be located at points served by the deeper waterways.
By improving the Franklin Canal, as recommended by the Chief of Engineers, Franklin, because of its highway and railroad connections, and labor pool, would provide a superior location for additional shrimp-processing plants.
The Department of Public Works of the State of Louisiana has available sufficient funds for the cash contribution required from local interests.
Mr. PETERSON of Georgia. Is there any further evidence or testimony on this project?
Mr. PYBURN. That is all from Louisiana.
Colonel FERINGA. Mr. Chairman, the large amount of local contribution for Franklin Canal was placed in there because of the large amount of drainage benefits in addition to the navigation benefits, and that puts it into a somewhat unusual light.
(The Red River below Shreveport, La., project, heard at this point, is printed separately.)