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66TH CONGRESS, | HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES. DOCUMENT 1st Session.

ST. PAUL HARBOR, MINN.

L E T T E R

FROM

THE SECRETARY OF WAR,

TRANSMITTING,

WITH A LETTER FROM THE CHIEF OF ENGINEERS, REPORTS ON

PRELIMINARY EXAMINATION AND SURVEY OF ST. PAUL (MINN.) HARBOR, WITH A VIEW OF DETERMINING WHETHER THE CHANNEL OF THE MISSISSIPPI RIVER CAN BE CHANGED TO OR NEAR THE BLUFFS ON THE WEST SIDE THEREOF, ETC.

JUNE 2, 1919.-Referred to the Committee on Rivers and Harbors and ordered to

be printed, with illustration.

WAR DEPARTMENT,

Washington, May 29, 1919. The SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES.

SIR: I have the honor to transmit herewith a letter from the Chief of Engineers, United States Army, of ist instant, together with report by Lieut. Col. Edward H. Schulz, Corps of Engineers, dated June 25, 1917, and report by Mr. George W. Freeman, assistant engineer in charge, dated January 24, 1919, with map, on a preliminary examination and survey, respectively, of St. Paul Harbor, Minn., made by them in compliance with the provisions of the river and harbor act approved July 27, 1916. Very respectfully,

NEWTON D. BAKER,

Secretary of War.

WAR DEPARTMENT,
OFFICE OF THE CHIEF OF ENGINEERS,

Washington, May 1, 1919.
From: The Chief of Engineers, United States Army.
To: The Secretary of War.
Subject: Preliminary examination and survey of St. Paul Harbor,

Minn. 1. There are submitted herewith for transmission to Congress report dated June 25, 1917, by Lieut. Col. Edward H. Schulz, Corps of Engineers, and report dated January 24, 1919, with map, by Mr. George W. Freeman, assistant engineer in charge, on preliminary examination and survey, respectively, authorized by the following item contained in the river and harbor act approved July 27, 1916:

Saint Paul (Minnesota) Harbor, with a view of determining whether the channel of the Mississippi River can be changed to or near the bluffs on the west side thereof. As a part of the examination which the Secretary of War is hereby required to make, he is directed to report whether access to the river at Saint Paul Harbor, by persons and shippers desiring to use the same for the purposes of transportation or travel thereon, is so completely dominated by private control as to materially impede or burden traffic originating or terminating there; and, if he shall so find, he is further directed to report what steps are necessary to free said landing place from such improper control or obstruction, and also if, in his opinion, it is advisable for the United States to acquire the fee simple to the said landing place and the approach thereto, by condemnation or otherwise.

2. The improvement proposed at St. Paul is the shifting of the river bed about 200 feet to the westward in order to make room for needed terminal expansion on the east or left bank. This is purely a terminal project, to be undertaken by and at the expense of local interests, under Federal supervision and inspection. The district engineer considers it doubtful whether the changes contemplated should be undertaken at this time, but, if authorized, he recommends that certain conditions be imposed in order to insure the speedy accomplishment of the project and protect the interests of the public.

3. These reports have been referred, as required by law, to the Board of Engineers for Rivers and Harbors, and attention is invited to its report herewith, dated April 8, 1919. The board states that the city of St. Paul desires to increase its terminal facilities, and it believes that the United States should give encouragement to such efforts. It therefore recommends that the city of St. Paul be authorized to undertake the improvement outlined by the district engineer, or such modification of said plan as may be recommended by the Chief of Engineers and approved by the Secretary of War, subject to the general provisions proposed by the district engineer.

4. After due consideration of the above-mentioned reports, I concur in the views of the Board of Engineers for Rivers and Harbors.

W. M. BLACK,

Major General.

REPORT OF THE BOARD OF ENGINEERS FOR RIVERS AND HARBORS

ON SURVEY.

[Third indorsement.)

BOARD OF ENGINEERS FOR RIVERS AND HARBORS,

April 8, 1919. The CHIEF OF ENGINEERS, UNITED STATES ARMY:

1. The following is in review of the district engineer's reports authorized by the river and harbor act of July 27, 1916, on preliminary examination and survey of:

Saint Paul (Minnesota) Harbor, with a view of determining whether the channel of the Mississippi River can be changed to or near the bluffs on the west side thereof. As a part of the examination which the Secretary of War is hereby required to make, he is directed to report whether access to the river at Saint Paul'Harbor, by persons and shippers desiring to use the same for the purposes of transportation or travel thereon, is so completely dominated by private control as to materially impede or burden traffic originating or terminating there; and, if he shall so find, he is further directed to report what steps are necessary to free said landing place from such improper control or obstruction; and also, if, in his opinion, it is advisable for the United States to acquire the fee simple to the said landing place and the approach thereto, by condemnation or otherwise.

2. The portion of the river included in this examination is 3.66 miles in length, the center being at or near the Robert Street Bridge in the city of St. Paul. This reach is included in the general project for the improvement of the Mississippi River above the mouth of the Missouri River, which provides for a depth of 6 feet at low water. This depth now exists generally in the vicinity of St. Paul, and above as far as the mouth of the Minnesota River, about 4.6 miles above the Robert Street Bridge.

3. The existing harbor line on the left bank extends from the Chicago, St. Paul, Minneapolis & Omaha Railway Co.'s bridge to Indian Mound Park, 3.7 miles, and on the right bank from the same bridge to the city limits at Annapolis Street, 5.6 miles. The improvement contemplated is in effect the shifting of these harbor lines and the river channel to the westward for the purpose of securing more space on the left bank for terminals, the cost of the work involved to be borne by the city. Several plans of varying extent have been considered, including complete diversion to or near the bluffs on the west side.

4. Four questions are propounded in the item of law quoted above,

yiz:

(a) Whether the channel can be changed to or near the west bluffs.

(6) Whether access by persons or shippers to the river at St. Paul is so completely dominated as to materially impede or burden traffic.

(c) If so impeded, what steps are necessary to free from such improper control.

(d) Whether it is advisable for the United States to acquire fee simple to said landing place and approach by condemnation or otherwise.

These subjects are treated in detail by the district engineer in his report on preliminary examination and the following conclusions reached:

(a) On account of the legal, engineering, and financial difficulties, especially the latter, it is not deemed advisable to change the channel of the Mississippi River at St. Paul from its present position to one at or near the west bluffs.

(6) Access to the river is dominated to such an extent as to materially impede and burden traffic.

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