IS THE PANAMA CANAL A FAILURE?
Lloyd's agent at Colon cables: —"Continued slide —eighteen ships held "up." And again : ' "Thirty-i'ou; , vessels wait'ng transit. Dredging output ex--1 ceeds ' inrush, but when transit ■' available unknown." Later news ■\ from the Panama slide announces ja landslide, of .10,000,000 cubic ] yards in the Culebra Cut, and in '' .:oresequence the canal will not |, lie o])cn again for traffic before! '' January." ;i January is here, and finds the : i prospect more menacing than I over. with 20-inclv "suction :dredges quite inadequate to deal > with the "sliding hills" of." which ■ ■uir Minister in the zone'"speaks in a recent report. For half a mile on either side of the channel both Gold Hill on the east md Culebra Hill on the west ire t moving into the great cut. Gold Hill tumbles down in bulk I
Culebra Hill moves towards the channel in terraced masses, deeply fissured down to the solid rock.
In one place the canal is choked to a height of sixteen feet above the water, and it will take until next July to remove the total obstruction.' Meanwhile the dry season, which begins, in December, may help. The banks begin to cake, and the binding grasses get a grip on the treacherous sfdes— grasses specially planted Isy the engineers for this purpose. It is hoped to cut _ a narrow passage deep enough for light draught vessels to pass. But all estimates- of this baffling .work are falsified from day to day, or from season to season. America's ablest experts estimated 103,000,000 cubic yards of "dirt" where 195,000,000 had to be removed. Meanwhile the Washington War Dcparmtent is refunding canal dues to held up steamers" and these are pursuing the Magellan route, which takes at least thirty days longer. To-day America is mute, but with the problem always before her. Has an irremediable error been made in the construction of the canal? A French engineer returned an emphatic "Yes' when this question was put. to "It is a lock canal,'. M. BunauVarilla said, "one dependent on the stability of the soft clay dam, 2300 metres long. It was madness to adopt such a plan m a land of earthquakes and furious floods. .Why, the canal may disappear in a night, leaving all America cursing the confusion oi ideas which has done all the mischief. The sea level scheme would have united the two oceans in nine years or so, and given a free arm, two hundred metres broad and fifteen deep at least, receiving all the rivers of the Isthmus, including the unruly Chagres. No restriction _ or limitation, no elaborate artificial works, dams or locks which an .earth tremor or an explosion could destroy. For a milliard of francs the United States might have had an inter-pceamc waterway, proof against all attacks of nature or of man." And now after all the hones, all the years of labour, with all resources of scienee«and machm■ry—steam e shovels, blasters and drills—these- ill-omened words . ring true.' "Why" M. Bunau-Varilla was asked,""did the United States build a lock canal when all the international engineers counselled the sea level design-?" "It is hard to say," he replied. "They are probably over-anxious to display their own initiative."
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IS THE PANAMA CANAL A FAILURE?, Akaroa Mail and Banks Peninsula Advertiser, Volume LXXV, Issue 3533, 4 April 1916
IS THE PANAMA CANAL A FAILURE? Akaroa Mail and Banks Peninsula Advertiser, Volume LXXV, Issue 3533, 4 April 1916
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