Open main menu

Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 61.djvu/319

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
313
THE PANAMA ROUTE FOR A SHIP CANAL.

greatest possible extent. A judicious, effective organization and plant would transform the execution of this work into what may be called a manufactory of excavation with all the intensity of direction and efficiency of well-designed and administered machinery which characterizes the concentration of labor and mechanical appliances in great manufacturing establishments. Such a successful installation would involve scarcely more advance in contract operations than was exhibited, in its day, in the execution of the work on the Chicago Drainage Canal. By such means only can the peculiar difficulties attendant upon the execution of great works in the tropics be reduced to controllable dimensions.

PSM V61 D319 View on the san juan river in nicaragua.png

View on the San-Juan River in Nicaragua.

The same general observations may be applied to the construction of the Bohio dam, even should a no more favorable site be found.

The greatest concentration of excavation on the Nicaragua route is between the lake and the Pacific, but it constitutes only ten per cent, of the total excavation of all grades, and it can be completed in far less time than the great cut on the Panama route. If this were the only great feature of work besides the dam, the time for completion of work on this route would be materially less than that required for the Panama crossing. As a matter of fact there are a succession of features of equivalent magnitude, or very nearly so, from Greytown nearly to Brito, extending over a distance of at least 175 miles, requiring the construction of a substantial service railroad over a considerable portion of the distance prior to the beginning of work. This attenuation of