Maritime History of the Great Lakes

Marine Record (Cleveland, OH), July 18, 1895, p. 6

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HARBOR IMPROVEMENTS. REPORTS AND RECOMMENDATIONS OF THE ENGINEERS. The season has once more swung around when the engineers in charge of river and harbor improvement file with the chief of engineers, U.S. A., their reports of work accomplished during the fiscal year of the govy- ernment, which include a statement of the actual status of the work on June 30. ' The most important of the lake reports is, of course, that of Gen. O. M. Poe, the work of which he has charge of being of immediate interest to the owner of every large vessel which passes up or down the lakes. Gen. Poe’s report, of course, dwells chiefly this year upon the deep channel project, commonly known as the 20- foot waterway. The contracts for excavating the eight sections into which the work has been divided ‘have been carried ow during the year ata cost of $802,077, the total expenditure on this improvement being $1,188,- 196. These contracts expire in December, 1895, and Gen. Poe says that it is not likely that the government will be called upon to give much, if any, extension of time to the contractors. 4 Originally the channel at Limekiln Crossing, Detroit River, could not be depended upon for more than 13 feet of water, the ordinary depth being much affected by the direction of the wind. The estimated cost ofa 400-foot channel is $1,374,500. The amount expended to June was $702,122, and the result has been a channel 440 feetin width. On examination large bowlders were found from Ballard’s reef to the head of Limekiln Crossing, making the channel navigable for vessels drawing not over 16% feet of water. All these bowl- ders will have to be removed to the same grade as the Limekiln Crossing work. The estimate for obtaining a 20-foot channel is $180,000, of which $28,742 is available from appropriations under the contract with Carkin, Stickney & Cram, for removing bowlders near Ballards’ reef; 18 feet of water has been obtained over a distance of 3,200 feet from the head of this reef. At St. Clair Flats Canal the report shows that the- preliminary estimate amounted to 950,000 cubic yards of clay and sand. A depth of 20 feet was required, and the contract price was 16.5 cents per cubic yard. The con- tractor, James Rooney, commenced work April 22, 1893. The contract was completed and closed December 7, 1894; 648,630.5 cubic yards having been removed for which $107,024 was paid. HAY LAKE AND THE SAULT CANAL, A hydrographic survey of Hay Lake was completed in February. A shoal was found where the improved channel enters the deep water in Hay Lake, prior to March, 1895, 4,667,315 cubic yards of material had been removed. In addition thereto, 64,424 cubic yards of clay were excavated from Sugar Island Rapids, for making coffer dams for the 800-foot lock. Contracts -were entered into for removing a shoal at the upper end of Hay Lake, and for cleaning up shoals near Nine Mile Point; 5,038 yards have been removed from the first and 345 yards from the latter, nearly completing that portion of the work. ‘The entire commerce of St. Mary’s River has used the channel, excepting a few rafts. The rapid increase of the number of boats adds largely to the danger of accidents during night naviga- tion of the Middle Neebish, and makes the project of widening the channel through the rock at that point to 400 feet of great importance. The amount expended during the year was $163,621 and the balance on hand is $305,519. - In the operation and care of St. Mary’s Falls Canal, $50,968 was spent during the fiscalyear. The canal was open to navigation 226 days, during the fiscal year clos- ing December 5, 1894, and opening April 25, 1893: The expenditure for the year was $610,090, a total to date of $2,872,073. The estimated cost of the enlargement of the canal ‘system is $4,738,865, and up to June, 1890, a total of $1,250,000 had been appropriated, and in 1890 an addi- ‘tional $900,000 was appropriated for continuing the work. The coffer dam remained intact without repairs during the year. The work done consisted of laying masonry in lock walls, constructing lock floors, excavat- ing and building foundations for piers, placing and testing the turbine power plant, and constructing a clay dam. REPORYT OF COL. JARED A. SMITH. The report of Lieut. Col. Jared A. Smith, in charge of the corps of engineers for river and harbor and im- provement on Lake Erie, west of Erie, Pa., makes recommendation for improvements at 12 ports, Monrog.—The reports shows that the original im- provement, deepening the harbor at Monroe, Mich., up to 1889, was $213,515. Since that time the cost of main- tenance and repairs has aggregated $21,519 with a small stm yet available to finish necessary work. ToiHpo.—For the improvement of the harbor at To- ledo, the engineer shows considerable progress on the work of deepening the channel with a balance of $34,- 000, available July 1, to continue the work. Statistics are collated showing the increased business of the harbor. Port Crinton.—Up to June 30, 1894, $75,315 had been THE MARINE “RECORD : expended in work on the’ harbor at’ Port Clinton, @:; leaving a. balance of $6,300. available. '-Itis belieyed the mouth of the Portage River can be straightened and achannel dredged, thus completing the improve- ment for $21,000. SANDUSKY.—The report shows that the project fora straight channel into the harbor at Sandusky, O., is-al- most completed, thus giving entrance to vessels draw- ing 18 feet. Range lights will mark the limits of this channel. Balance available to continue the work amounts to $16,000, while $225,000 will be needed to finish ‘it.. Huron.—For the improvement of Huron harbor a balance of $3,500 is yet available and recommendations are being made for a rapid prosecution of the work, completing harbor piers and deepening the harbor channel. : VERMILLION.—An appropriation sufficient to cover re- pairs to piers at Vermillion River and harbor is urged. Since the completion of these piers in 1879, a total of $17,000 has been expended for such work,-but no work was done during the last fiscal year. To complete ex- isting projects $4,000 is needed. LoraAIn.—At Lorain the work consisted of extending the west pier 72 feet, the extension consisting of a single crib constructed by John Stang, of Lorain. It was launched in two sections, afterward joined together. In May Col. Smith was notified of a bar 75 feet wide and 1,500 feet long in the channel’ between the piers. A dredge was set at work immediately and took out 9,405 yards of material, leaving the channel in good condi- tion, with 18 feet of water. ~ : PURE Re OhOWS . CLEVELAND —In regard to Cleveland the report states that $4,792 was expended in maintaining old work dur- ing the year. The recommendations contained in last year’s report, urging the importance of rebuilding: the old breakwater, are repeated, as some portions are too old to withstand the force of storms. A superstructure of concrete masonry is recommended .as the cheapest that can be made, of a reasonable permanent character. Col. Smith refers to the work of opening a cut 200 feet wide, in the west arm of the breakwater, 1,350 feet shoreward from the northeast angle. The opening is being done by hired labor. All the superstructure has been removed, and strong bulkheads have been built in the old: work at each end of the opening. In this con- nection it may be said that the rather tedious work of raising with the aid of a diver the large bowlders which are piled up against the structure on the harbor side, and of getting them out of the way, will soon be com- pleted, and Col. Smith intends thereafter to put a few dynamite cartridges in the crib work to be blown out, which will loosen up the material so as to admit of ready materials. The cost of this improvement is es- timated at $5,000, from which should be deducted the value of the stone ballast, which is worth $5 per cord, and which can be used elsewhere. ‘The value of this stone is about $1,300. Five thousand dollars is reserved as an emergency dredging fund for the next two years. FArIrRPpoR?T.—An examination of the piers at Fairport in October, 1894, when the stage of water was very low, disclosed that a section of the west pier, nearly 138 feet long, and originally 28 feet in width, was in stich bad condition above and below water as to make entire re- moval necessary. ‘The piers were originally placed on the natural bottom, and dipped inward as the result of deepening the channels. The work of repairing was done by J. B. Donnelly, of Buffalo, for $10,921; it began April 15, and was completed June 11. The entire length was replaced by a single crib, the grillage being built and launched in three sections, and afterwards joined together. It stands in atrench excavated to 20 feet be- low the mean water level. The sand bottom rises sev- eral feet above the crib bottom on the west side. On the east side, projecting timbers at the base form an apron which effectually prevents any underminining of the structure by the waves. The structure rises six feet above the water level. ASHTABULA HARBOR.—Probably the most important feature of Col. Smith’s report is his recommendation in the matter of the harbor of refuge, at Ashtabula, a part of the last appropriation being especially devoted toa survey with that end in view. Col. Smith describes at length the survey and soundings of Assistant Engineer Blunt. Twenty-two lines of soundings were taken, each mote than a mile in length. Out of 45. places where soundings were taken with a view.of ascertaining the nature of the bottom, bare rock was found in 38 localities. Elsewhere the sediment on top of the rock ranged from afew inches to two feet indepth. ‘This effectually demonstrated the futility of making an outer harbor of refuge, as no anchorage was available. Col. Smith called attention to the fact that there are very few lone sailing vessels on the lakes, and these can readily be turned into Ashtabula’s inner harbor by tugs. He refers to the project to extend the west pier 480 and the east pier 600 feet, as one means of affording a safer entrance in stormy weather. He points out that the piers and the channel between are exactly on the merid- ian, whereas the heavy seas almost invariably come from the northeast or northwest, and suggests that in lieu of the harbor of refuge proposed, which would be of small value in proportion to the expense of construc- tion, the entrance in rough weather would be greatly aided by the construction of two breakwaters running at angles of 45° to the channel, and at right angles to each other, each breakwater to be 1,500. feet long, with an opening between them of 400 feet, in line with the channel between the piers. This would effectually Rough outline of Ashtabula Project, break the northeast and northwest seas. The cost of these breakwaters is estimated at $465,000, but it is noted that this expenditure would reduce by $114,400 the expense of pier extension, which had been previous- ly estimated at $225,000. The rock dredging iu the channel between the piers continues, and the contract for this work was taken at prices so reasonable that the appropriation for this work will be sufficient to dredge the river there to the proper depth for the entire dis- tance between the piers. CONNEAUYT.—The end of the old pier at Conneaut had been badly damaged by the seas for 20 feet. This was braced and connected with the new vier by means of a triangular crib with its base 12 feet long against the old work and its perpendicular 20 feet long against this new work, and filled with stone and decked over. This device works admirably in throwing off the seas, The work of pier extension was not done by contract; but EKustus Gilmore, of Lorain, was appointed to super- intend the work, which began April 8. At June 30, there had been framed 200,000 feet of hemlock timber and 10,000 feet of pine timber in three cribs, each 100 feet long and ready to sink in place. This last work was delayed June 29 by astorm, but much of it has since been completed. The outward crib was put in first and served as a protection to those inside. Col. Smith re- fers to the extensive dredging and wharf improvement that has been done by the Shesango Railroad, and to the phenomenal development of Conneaut’s commerce. MAJOR RUFFNER’S REPORT. BUFFALO —In his annual report to the chief of engi- neers, Maj. K. H. Ruffner, in charge of the river and harbor improvements in the Buffalo district, after a de- scription of the work accomplished in Buffalo harbor under the approved project, says that the south pier needs repairs in three places where it has settled. The breakwater has attained its full length of 7,600 feet and shows no sign of wear in the concrete portion, though there rémain afew small holes to be filled up. Minor repairs will maintain the timber portion in good order for years. The wrecked portion of the shore armre- mains unchanged and the needed repairs must wait the report of the engineering board convened to devicea plan for the replacement of the bad foundation to the south breakwater. Oaly $9,779 of the appropriation was spent during the year and there is a balance of $134,287 available for continuing the work. Eriz.—Of Erie harbor, Maj. Ruffner says the south breakwater is old and decayed and requires repairs after every severe storm. The timbers of the south pier are decaying and it will require a new superstruc- ture and refilling with stone and a new deck. A new 4 superstructure will also be needed over the north pierin the older portion. The catch sand jetty is not worth re- pairing. The channel is gradually shoaling about the harbor entrance and both channels require repeated dredging. To prevent breaches across the neck it is proposed to construct a wall 500 feet long at the most exposed point, rising four to five feet above the water. As the bar formation above the north pier continues to grow, it is suggested that this pier should be extended. The projected extension of the south pier is not now ex- pedient. Only $3,675 of the appropriation was expended last year, leaving $51,609 available. LAKE MICHIGAN Harpors.—Capt. Carl F. Palfrey, in his report to chief engineers, says, speaking of the work in progress, at Milwaukee, that the object is to " obtain an 18-foot channel into the Milwaukee River, ie which is the inner harbor, but as soon as the deep chan- nel is secured the Milwaukee channel will have to be deepened to correspond. At Green Bay, the 16-foot a channel, 100 feet wide, will be completed by the end of 4 the season. Inthe Sturgeon Bay and Lake Michigan 4 Canal a regular depth of 13 feet of water has been ob- tained. On the project to secure 14 feet of water at Kewaunee harbor 13 feet has been obtained. At Mani- towoc, Wis., where the object was to obtain 18 feet of water at the entrance, 16 feet has been secured. The same is the case at Sheboygan. Work on the break- water for the harbor of refuge-at Milwaukee Bay has been continued and $40,000 expended during the year. At Racine, 13% feet of water has been obtained. Six- teen feet is desired. The report submitted by Maj. W. A. Jones on the im- provement of the St. Croix River in Wisconsin and Minnesota, shows that up to the fiscal year June 30, 1894, about $108,500 has been expended on the stream. During the past year the work was confined to dredg-® E ing in the channel over the Hudson bar, which has a facilitated the passage of raft boats with their large “| tows. The report of Maj. Jones on the Minnessota River shows that $126,926 have been expended on the stream up to June 30, 1894.

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