« PreviousContinue »
Mr. BRITTEN. That is what I wanted to bring out. Capt. SEE. But I think he would maintain the same position now. That is what I mean.
Mr. BRITTEN. Then one question about the dike. In your proposition for further construction, did you expect to lengthen the dike, if so, how much?
Capt. BEACH. Mr. Britten, I have talked on that subject with Commander Cox, who has made a study of it. I don't know much about it and he knows all about it.
Mr. BRITTEN. Just at this point in the record
Capt. BEACH (interrupting and continuing). He will answer your question.
Mr. BRITTEN. Yes.
Capt. Beach. I haven't much opinion of my own on that dike, but what we have talked about is extending the dike from the present 8,000 feet to 20,000 feet.
Mr. BRITTEN. Extending it 12,000 feet?
Capt. BEACH. I say we have talked about it. I think as an ultimate development, it is, yes.
Mr. BRITTEN. You do?
Mr. BRITTEN. I am just wondering why that would be necessary if the channel has already made its own bottom and no appreciable amount of silting comes in along there. Why would it be necessary to extend the dike 12,000 feet?
Capt. BEACH. Because, if you wanted to do that, you could, if you needed it, make a good deal of additional ground. If you run the dikes out there the silt backs up behind them and deposits and makes ground.
Mr. BRITTEN. Would you need that ground, and does your scheme contemplate the development of the ground?
Capt. BEACH. Not this scheme.
Capt. BEACH Yes; that is a possible ultimate development. It is possible 50 years from now, or some other time.
Mr. BRITTEN. That is all, thank you.
Senator BALL. Does any other member of the committee desire to ask any questions?
Mr. PADGETT. I have thought of a question, Mr. Chairman. I recall that many years ago when I first went upon the committee the channel was 24 feet at mean low tide over the straits down here.
Capt. BEACH. Through the shoals?
Mr. PADGETT. Yes, through the shoals, and I have been informed that since then it was not less than 31 feet, and since we have authorized the construction of those dikes, that the current instead of depositing silt has deen washing the silt out, and that it has been gradually deepening. Can you tell me whether that is true or correct, or is it incorrect?
Capt. BEACH. I think the channel was originally 28 or 29 feet, and that during the hydraulic mining it went down to 24 feet, and that then they put these dikes up and it has been getting deeper there constantly.
Mr. PADGETT. Only 28 or 29 feet? I have been told that many years ago, when this yard was established, in the fifties and before the hydraulic and the placer mining up the river, that you had a 40foot depth throughout here, and that it filled up to about 24 feet. But what I was asking about was, that since the construction of these dykes by the joint action of the Army and the Navy, and dredging, that there has been a tendency to wash itself out instead of accumulating--that is, the natural channel has been washing out itself. I want to know if you have any information on that.
Capt. BEACH. I have no information on that point. Commander Cox may have. Mr. PADGETT. All right, we will see about that. I just wanted to you
knew. Capt. BEACH. I think that is true, but Commander Cox can answer that better than I. He has the information on that.
Mr. CURRY. I think that is true, Mr. Chairman.
Senator Ball. Captain, who do you desire to have testify before the committee next?
Capt. BEACH. Senator Ball, I do not desire anybody.
Senator BALL. The committee desires all the information it can get.
Mr. CURRY. I suggest that Commander Cox is chief engineer of the yard, and his information will be valuable to the committee.
Senator BALL. Then will Commander Cox come up here, please?
Capt. BEACH. Mr. Chairman, I haven't given out this statement that I have just made to you here to anybody. The newspaper men have asked if they could have it. I am quite willing to let them have it, but of course will not do so unless the committee says so.
Senator Ball. What is the feeling about it, gentlemen ?
Mr. PADGETT. I don't see any objection to the newspaper men having it.
Senator BALL. I should not think there could be any objectioi. This is a public hearing.
Mr. PADGETT. No objection in the world.
Senator BALL. Any statements before the committee may be made public, in my judgment, unless some member of the committee objects.
Capt. BEACH. I would ask Admiral Coontz to give me instruction on that.
Admiral COONTZ. How is that?
Capt. BEACH. I have been requested to give the statement out to the newspapers. Up to this time the statement is not in the pos. session of anybody except the congressional committee.
Admiral Coontz. It is entirely up to the chairman of the congressional committee, as this is now evidence before the committee
Mr. PADGETT. I can see no objection to it.
Mr. PADGETT. There is no reason that I can see that we should keep anything from the
press. Senator Ball. The committee seems to be unanimous that it is perfectly proper to give it to the papers.
Capt. BEACH. I simply desired the permission of the committee, as I would not give it without the permission of the committee and of the Chief of Operations.
Senator Ball. So far as the committee is concerned, it is public property.
Mr. BRITTEN. The statement is a very good one, Captain, and it ought to be published.
Commander L. M. Cox. Gentlemen of the commission, the commandant has submitted a very able presentation of the merits of the present location of the Mare Island Navy Yard as the site for a new and enlarged Pacific coast naval base. "My function is merely to place at your disposal the results of such technical studies as I have made during my tour of duty in this district, and in particular to give you my reasons as an engineer for recommending the socalled Carquinez Straits Site. Considering the limited time at the commission's disposal for personal investigationat the various sites, I am of the opinion that I could best present that part of the subject falling within my sphere through the medium of questions and answers. Since, however, it appears desirable to present a more general statement of the technical side of the question, I will endeavor to touch only upon the more important features, leaving all questions of details to be brought out by examination, should the commission desire more specific information.
Assuming that Congress is convinced of the necessity for an adequate docking, repair, and supply base on the Pacific coast for the maintenance of the Pacific Fleet, it follows that, before giving the necessary authority for the construction of such a base and before appropriating the large sums necessary for its execution, a definite decision must be reached regarding its location. There are two governing factors in the problem of locating a naval base-military requirements and engineering features.
Obviously, I could not well have spent 20 years of my life in the naval service without giving first place in any discussion of a naval public work to the question of military needs, and possibly, too, some more or less positive ideas as to what such needs may be for any specific problem. My knowledge is not that of a specialist, however, and, since the commission has at its disposal the best expert talent in the service, it is my desire to avoid this topic altogether, both in my preliminary statement and in my examination.
The factor of engineering” I assume as including practicability of construction, practicability of operation, and all engineering questions having to do with the economics, both of construction and operation; and I will start with the hypothesis that, if it be established to the commission's satisfaction that the Carquinez Straits location reasonably fulfills all military requirements which can now be foreseen, the commission's choice of site will be that which can be operated at the least annual expense and which will conserve the maximum of existing Government investments.
The act creating this commission specifically mentions for consideration three proposed sites known as the Alameda site, the Hunters Point site, and the Carquinez Straits site. I will discuss briefly the general characteristics of the three sites in the orde mentioned.
The Alameda site consists of a tract of water-covered land with a bay frontage of approximately 8 miles and an area of approximately 5,400 acres. The present surface elevation of this tract is from zero at the tide land to minus 12 feet, or, say, an average of 6 feet below mean lower low water. Of this tract it is proposed by the
Helm Board to develop immediately for dock-yard construction a quadrangle containing approximately 473 acres, or about 9 per cent of the entire tract. This development plot will require an average fill of about 20 feet in order to bring it to a yard level of 12 feet above mean lower low water, the material for this fill to be obtained from dredging: Exploratory work has been in progerss for some months with
a view to ascertaining the character of the underlying materials for foundation purposes.
The results of the borings taken in the course of this work have been submitted to the commission, and will be interpreted by the commission's technical advisers. For purposes of this statement they may be interpreted as indicating exceedingly treacherous conditions for the construction of such structures as dry docks. We have penetrated in places to a depth of 150 feet, and in every boring we have encountered clays and sands of different mixtures, with waterbearing strata well within the bottom depths of a modern dry dock carrying 40 feet of water over the sill. This means difficult, hazardous, and expensive construction work, and I believe that I am war ranted in expressing the opinion that it would be unwise to attempt such constructions at this site without resorting to radical measures, such as were adopted in the construction of the Pearl Harbor dry dock; and I would not consider it safe to estimate the cost of such a dock at less than $5,700,000.
Mr. Hicks. Will you please repeat that figure, Commander Cox?
Commander Cox. $5,700,000. After a study of local labor and material markets extending over a period of a year and a quarter, I have prepared what I believe to be a fairly reliable estimate of the cost of executing the Helm Board layout on the Alameda site, and find that the total, including reclamation, dredging, quay walls, piers, buildings, dry docks, breakwaters, machine equipment, and public utilities, could not be proved for less than $50,427,000, and that, assuming the usual procedure on Government works and the usual contract methods, the time required to complete the entire work, with the maximum rate of progress to be expected, is six years, with a strong.probability of exceeding this period. (Of course, this information has come to me second hand, because I have not been here long enough to actually know.) When constructed, the maintenance and operating costs should be reasonable. Silt drops rapidly in this locality, and I am informed that the rate of deposit sometimes amounts to as much as 3 inches per month, or 3 feet per year, when the bank is once disturbed and the current paths deflected by wing walls. This will mean periodical dredging for the maintenance of slips and approach, but the cost of this work should not be given weight as an important site objection, since the disadvantage is more or less common to all sites on the bay.
The railroad service may be marked excellent, sources of supply excellent, labor conditions ample as regards supply, but unsatisfactory in other respects.
At the Hunters Point site it is proposed to reclaim an area of approximately 291 acres of submerged land, a considerable portion of which is at an average depth of 5 feet below mean low water, and to excavate a portion of the rock bluff in order to permit of the construction of dry docks, as indicated on the Helm Board's layout. From the result of recent borings it would seem highly desirable to ncrease the rock excavation quantities as estimated by the Helm
Board, in order to shift the dry docks farther to the westward, and thus insure solid rock support throughout their entire bottom areas. When the location is so shifted, the foundation conditions at Hunters Point may
be classed as excellent. There are, of course, comparatively large amounts of fill, rock excavation, and of rock and sandclay dredging, and while these items add somewhat to the cost, the net result is a distinct advantage. Everything required for a naval base would have to be included in the initial project, as the property is now unimproved, and it is the opinion of all officers with whom I have consulted that the existing privately owned docks belonging to the Bethlehem Shipbuilding Corporation should not be acquired by the Government, but should be encouraged as a commercial activity necessary for the port and available for the Navy in time of war. As in the case of the Alameda site, I have made a fairly close estimate-omitting the cost of real estate-of the entire project, in the light of present market conditions, and submit as my opinion that it could be constructed at a cost of $49,359,000, and assuming the most favorable conditions for expediting Government work of this character, together with the usual contract procedure, the work could be completed in from four and one-half to five years. If these assumptions are not realized, this period will be very considerably exceeded. I am assuming wholesale operations, such as were adopted for the Panama Canal, in estimating my time.
Transportation facilities are satisfactory, sources of supply excellent, and labor conditions about the same as at Alameda.
For the Carquinez Straits site no definite layout of docks and piers has yet been adopted by any sanctioned authority. Since I first proposed this site in my report of July, 1919, I have made a number of tentative layouts, and some rough comparative studies as to cost, but inasmuch as all layouts involving an outboard location of dry docks must necessarily await the results of borings now in progress, I have, for the purposes of estimating, adopted a layout affording a rock foundation for dry docks, which I will show you, marked “Scheme E.” In this layout I have indicated for immediate construction the same general water-front and dry-dock facilities as were adopted by the Helm Board, but—as did the Helm Board at the other sitesbesides the two docks, I have indicated by dotted lines locations for two additional docks which I believe will ultimately become necessary for the proper and expeditious upkeep of the fleet. The two docks indicated for present construction are founded on rock, and one of them has its prism entirely within rock. The piers extend to or beyond the present 35-foot-depth contour, and the intervals between piers, together with the entrances to dry docks, are to be dredged to 40 feet below mean low water. Because of the availability of existing shop facilities at the Mare Island Navy Yard, no buildings are included in this layout beyond an additional storehouse, a power substation, and sheds for outside machinist and dock gear. The station would be served by a railroad loop connecting, via the causeway, with transcontinental railroad lines, and public utilities would be served from Mare Island sources. I estimate the cost of executing this entire work at $27,916,000. Assuming the usual Government methods, the work should be completed within three years, and one dock could be opened for service two years after the beginning of actual construction.