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RIVERS AND HARBORS BILL
FRIDAY, MAY 3, 1946
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES,
Mr. PETERSON of Georgia. The committee will come to order. Gentlemen, we have as our first project today the Apalachicola, Chattahoochee and Flint River project.
I notice we have with us our distinguished colleagues, Congressman Pace and Congressman Cox, of Georgia, both of whom are keenly interested in this project.
We are also very proud to see some of my distinguished fellow Georgians here this morning who will be a help to the projecting, and also Congressman Andrews, of Alabama. I was just complimenting my colleague from Alabama in conversation with my colleague, but did not know the Congressman was present. I am very glad to see you here.
Mr. Pace, you and Mr. Cox are both especially interested in this project. I wonder if you would like to make your statement now, or prefer to have Colonel Feringa to outline the project and then follow?
Mr. Pace. Mr. Chairman, if it pleases the committee, we will yield at this time to Colonel Feringa.
STATEMENT OF COL. P. A. FERINGA, UNITED STATES ARMY,
CORPS OF ENGINEERS
Colonel FERINGA. Mr. Chairman, if I could give my notes to the reporter, because in this case they are complete and explain the project to the committee briefly from the map, giving the principal points, I believe that would be in the interest of saving time. I know you have a very full day. Would that be all right?
Mr. PITTENGER. I prefer that procedure, myself, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. PETERSON of Georgia. Without objection, the report will be inserted in the record.
Colonel FERINGA. The Apalachicola River is formed by the junction of Chattahoochee and Flint Rivers. The confluence of those two tributaries is at River Junction, and the Apalachicola River then flows into the Gulf of Mexico.
At the place where it flows into the Gulf of Mexico, it joins, or is crossed by the intercoastal waterway, which is an existing and prosperous waterway, and for which I previously presented to the committee a set of graphs showing a tremendous amount of water-borne tonnage that makes use of that waterway.
Mr. JACKSON. Is the Flint River a tributary of that?
Colonel FERINGA. The Apalachicola River itself is formed by two tributaries, one the Chattahoochee River, and the other the Flint River.
Mr. ANGELL. Are they about equal in size?
Colonel FERINGA. The Chattahoochee River is a larger stream and also goes much farther upstream.
The Flint River is steeper and above Albany it is not navigable. In fact, below Albany, it is navigable, and below Bainbridge, it is really a fine highway for navigation.
Mr. RANKIN. How far upstream will this project make that river navigable?
Colonel FERINGA. May I answer your question in a minute, Mr. Rankin?
Mr. RANKIN. Yes.
Colonel FERINGA. The last rivers and harbors act provided an overall plan for the development of this entire basin and authorized for the first step that we bring 6-foot navigation as far as Columbus, Ga., and 6-foot navigation as far as Bainbridge.
We will do that by a low dam at River Junction and a low dam at Fort Benning, which is located at this point. That would be the first step which is now authorized.
Mr. PERERSON of Georgia. What is the total amount of over-all authorization for the entire project?
Colonel FERINGA. The original plan, briefly, would cost $66,629,000. The initial step would cost $6,500,000.
Mr. PETERSON of Georgia. Do you recall how much we had in this last appropriation bill for that?
Colonel FERINGA. There was an item which would be sufficient to start construction of the dam at River Junction, $1,000,000.
Mr. PETERSON of Georgia. That is in the bill we finally agreed upon now before the President?
Colonel FERINGA. Yes; and the President will probably sign it today.
Colonel FERINGA. Two years ago I appeared before this committee and explained it in detail.
Mr. PITTENGER. And there was considerable fuss kicked up about the cost.
Colonel FERINGA. I believe so. At that time the committee authorized only the first initial step.
Now, in this report, which was presented to the Board of Rivers and Harbors last month by the district and division engineer, we recommended that the project be authorized for deeper navigation.
We recommend that we get 9-foot depth as far as Columbus, and that we also get 9-foot depth as far as Bainbridge.
Mr. PETERSON of Georgia. That is just the project before us now.
Colonel FERINGA. That is the one I am describing now, sir. What we are now recommending is to authorize us to provide 9-foot depth as far as Columbus, and 9-foot depth as far as Bainbridge, and to do this by multiple-purpose dams, so that we will capture every vestige of power available.
Mr. RANKIN. How much power will it develop ?
Colonel FERINGA. 582,500,000 kilowatt-hours of firm energy, and 105,566 kilowatt-hours of secondary energy.
Mr. RANKIN. That is 700,000,000 kilowatt-hours annually?
Colonel FERINGA. The 9-foot channel would be from Columbus, south to the Apalachicola River, from Bainbridge south to the Apalachicola River, and this would then be another feeder to this prosperous intracoastal waterway which goes from this point all the way down to the Gulf of Mexico. It would be another feeder. It would be in this general location.
Mr. RANKIN. What would be the length of that 9-foot channel!
Mr. PETERSON of Georgia. How far is Bainbridge up the Flint River ?
Colonel FERINGA. Bainbridge to River Junction is 29 miles.
Mr. PITTENGER. Colonel, you believe the deeper these channels the better?
Colonel FERINGA. I certainly do. Mr. PITTENGER. I know in 1941 they were asking Mr. Fred Kaiser, who was a traffic and rate expert from Duluth, about the depth of these channels, with particular reference to this 9-foot channel on the Mississippi.
Somebody jabbed him with a darning needle and Mr. Kaiser told them if he could get a 35-foot channel on the Mississippi, he would take it and be glad to get it, and so would every other man who knew anything about transportation in this country.
Colonel FERINGA. Îhe inherent economy in water transportation is increased if you get a deeper channel.
However, I think it is also logical to get that depth progressively. We, however, in this project, like we always do, are taking care of the most costly part by proposing to build the locks now to 12 feet, thinking in the future this project will pay out, knowing it will pay out. But if it pays out to greater extent than we now think, then Congress can authorize the additional depth of 12 feet, which will not be an inordinate cost because the most costly part, the locks, will now be built to provide for 12 feet.
Mr. PITTENGER. Does that go up into the interior and tap a lot of natural resources ?
Colonel FERINGA. It is a tremendously rich part of the country. Mr. RANKIN. What size are the proposed locks?
Colonel FERINGA. Eighty-two feet wide by four hundred fifty feet long, and twelve feet deep.
Mr. PETERSON of Georgia. That will not accommodate the vessels that now use the inland waterways?
Colonel FERINGA. They will accommodate the type traffic that now uses the inland waterways, although it will not provide as successfully for the full through traffic as will the locks that we recommended for the Tennessee-Tombigbee, but this a feeder canal instead of a through connection.
In other words, you might consider this as a two-track railroad instead of a four- or six-track railroad.
Mr. PETERSON of Georgia. But you are making these locks so that this entire project can later be deepened to 12 feet.
Colonel FERINGA. Definitely. And the cost we are presenting to you now contemplates that the locks will be built to 12 feet, and if it is authorized, the locks will be built to 12 feet.
Mr. RANKIN. Can the barges that use the waterway now use the intercoastal waterway?
Colonel FERINGA. Yes, sir. Some of the Mississippi barges would have to be possibly changed to some slight extent by putting additional protection on the bow or stern. Yes, definitely.
Mr. RANKIN. How much more would it cost to make these 110 by 600 ?
Colonel FERINGA. I would say double the cost of the locks.
Mr. Rankin. The proponents of this measure are satisfied with the size of these locks?
Colonel FERINGA. I imagine they are, sir, because we have come to this size after a very thorough study based upon the type traffic that will make use of them. I am sure they will be large enough.
Mr. RANKIN. I would prefer the standard locks—110 by 600, so that all the barges that used the rivers and also the coastal canal could use these locks and navigate this stream.
Colonel FERINGA. The intercoastal canals will have practically the same size locks that we are proposing for this lock system. On the Ohio and Tennessee-Tombigbee we propose the 110- by 600-foot locks, because that is through traffic, both ways, and therefore is of much greater density.
But I do believe that we should recommend to this committee the type locks which in our opinion, and based upon a tremendous amount of experience, is suited for the waterway in question.
Mr. PETERSON of Georgia. Colonel, could not a large percentage of the vessels that traverse these other streams where you have 110-foot widths also use these?
Colonel FERINGA. They can all go through there, Mr. Peterson. It is just a question that the tow will not be as large. All the barges, all the tow boats, can make use of these locks without any
trouble. Mr. Rankin. In other words, you do not have barges longer than 450 feet long, or 82 feet wide.
Colonel FERINGA. That is right. To my knowledge there are no barges larger than that.
Mr. DONDERO. What is the over-all estimated cost?
Colonel FERINGA. $73,361,000. The ratio of cost to benefit is 1 as to 1.08.
Mr. DONDERO. A little bit better than Tombigbee.
Mr. PITTENGER. I am surprised that nobody brought up these foreign loans, because this little hand-out we are going to give some of these people over in England would pay for 14 St. Lawrence seaways and power projects, or loans.