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Some navigators think a height of 60 feet above high water should be given, and of course such height would be better than 55; but to call for a greater height than is absolutely necessary is somewhat unreasonable.
Certain booms, connecting the piers of the high bridge with the corresponding piers of the railroad bridge, are required, and the owners of the high bridge express a willingness to put them in as soon as practicable. If this is not done, as promised, the booms can be called for under section 8 of the river and harbor act of July 5, 1884.
As it appears that the height given the Dubuque High Bridge furnishes reasonable accommodation to the steam-boats now navigating the Upper Mississippi River, I am of the opinion that the bridge is "no substantial obstruction to navigation of said river." The height given is greater than is required by the rules laid down by General Warren in his report on "Bridging the Upper Mississippi River from Saint Paul to Saint Louis."
One copy of plans of bridge as proposed accompanied the original papers. These plans show the bridge as built, and duplicate copies have been procured as requested.
The construction of the Dubuque High Bridge will make necessary arrangements for lowering the chimneys of some of the steam-boats now navigating the Upper Mississippi River. It has been claimed that the expense of such work is a fair charge against the bridge company; but on this point I do not feel it my province to express any opinion. Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
The Chief of ENGINEERS, U. S. A.
W W 19.
BRIDGE OF THE OHIO CONNECTING RAILWAY COMPANY ACROSS THE OHIO RIVER NEAR THE MOUTH OF CORK'S RUN, IN ALLEGHENY COUNTY, PENNSYLVANIA, AUTHORIZED BY ACT OF CONGRESS APPROVED MAY 14, 1888.
PITTSBURGH, CINCINNATI AND ST. LOUIS RAILWAY CO.,
CHIEF ENGINEER'S OFFICE, Columbus, Ohio, May 24, 1887. DEAR SIR: I am directed by the Ohio Connecting Railway Company, a corporation chartered by the State of Pennsylvania, to present to you, in accordance with the law governing the construction of bridges over the Ohio River, plans for the erection of a bridge across the Ohio River about 1 mile below the junction of the Allegheny and Monongahela rivers at Pittsburgh, Pa. The plans herewith submitted consist of
(1) A map of the Ohio River on a scale of 200 feet per inch, showing high and low water marks and the shore topography and the river bottom contour lines.
(2) A map of the Ohio River showing the current lines and velocities of the river above and below the proposed bridge site on a scale of 200 feet per inch.
(3) A plan of the masonry piers Nos. 4 and 6, being the two shore piers, on a scale of one-eighth of an inch per foot.
(4) Plan of Pier No. 5, being the middle pier, on a scale of one-eighth of an inch per foot.
(5) The profile and plan of bridge across the Ohio River on a scale of 40 feet per
Very respectfully, yours,
M. J. BECKER,
Chief Engineer Ohio Connecting Railway Company.
Hon. WILLIAM C. ENDICOTT,
Secretary of War.
OFFICE CHIEF OF ENGINEERS,
Respectfully returned to the Secretary of War. The maps required by section 4 of "An act supplementary to an act approved December 17, 1872, entitled, An act to authorize the construction of the bridges across the Ohio River, and to prescribe the dimensions of the same,'" approved February 14, 1883 (copy herewith), submitted by the Ohio Connecting Railway Company, under the provisions of that section "shall be referred to a Board of Engineers for examination and report, which Board shall personally examine the site of the proposed bridge, and shall hold a public session at some convenient point to hear all objections thereto, of which public session due notice and invitation to be present shall be given to all interested parties," etc. It is accordingly recommended that a Board of Officers of the Corps of Engineers be constituted, to meet at Pittsburgh, Pa., upon the call of the senior member, and at such time as the other duties of the members will permit, to consider and report upon the plans in question. The Board to consist of Lieutenant-Colonels W. E. Merrill and J. W. Barlow, and Maj. Amos Stickney, with Lieut. E. J. Spencer as recorder. If approved by the Secretary of War, the Board will be convened by orders from this office.
It is suggested that the attention of the railroad authorities be called to the requirements of the "rule to be observed when application is mide, pursuant to an act of Congress, for the approval by the Secretary of War of plans for a bridge," etc., dated July 31, 1886, and also to the fact that there is no evidence contained in the paper submitted by them that the first part of section 4, before referred to, in regard to publication, has been complied with.
J. C. DUANE,
Brig. Gen., Chief of Engineers.
WAR DEPARTMENT, May 26, 1887.
The recommendation of the Chief of Engineers in regard to the Board of Engineers is approved.
Mr. Becker's attention was called to the rule of the Department dated July 31, 1886, and to the requirements of section 4 of the act approved December 17, 1872, on the 25th instant.
By order of the Secretary of War.
June 28, 1887.
Respectfully returned to the Secretary of War, inviting attention to the accompanying report of the Board of Engineers, appointed with his sanction by Special Orders No. 60, current series, from this office, to consider and report upon the plans submitted by the Ohio Connecting Railroad Company for their proposed bridge across the Ohio River at about 1 mile below the junction of the Allegheny and Monongahela rivers at Pittsburgh, Pa. The report of the Board is concise in terms, and shows that the subject has received the careful consideration which the importance of the interests involved demands. The Board states "that, after careful study of the drawings and of the ground, the Board have concluded that the site selected by the bridge company is unusually unfavorable to the river interests." They "also find that the line of the proposed bridge is not normal to the current at all stages, as required by law, but departs from such a line by an angle of 130,
"After mature deliberation the Board feel constrained to state that, in their best judgment, any bridge at the locality selected by the Ohio Connecting Railway Company, except one spanning the whole width of the river, would be objectionable, but they believe that with a change in axis, as recommended, and a clear opening of 800 feet, measured on the low-water line, a bridge at the site selected would be admissible. The increase in channel space should be given by moving the south channel pier nearer to the south shore."
In conclusion, the Board recommends "that the site selected by the bridge company be accepted on the condition that the axis of the bridge be changed as recommended, and that the channel space be increased to 800 feet, but that otherwise the site be rejected. They also recommend that the company be notified that the location which crosses Brunot's Island, as indicated above, will be acceptable to the United States, and that they are at liberty to bring up other sites for examination in case neither of the two named is accepted under the conditions herein imposed."
The views of the Board are concurred in by this office, and it is recommended that a copy of their report be furnished the Ohio Connecting Railway Company for their information.
It may be proper to invite attention to the letter of Lieut. Col. William E. Merrill, in which it is stated that the duplicates of maps and papers required by the rule of the War Department will be sent by the company direct to this office.
J. C. DUANE,
Brig. Gen., Chief of Engineers.
FIRST REPORT OF BOARD OF ENGINEERS.
JUNE 25, 1887.
The Board of officers of the Corps of Engineers appointed by Special Orders, No. 60, dated Headquarters Corps of Engineers, Washington, D. C., May 27, 1887, to "consider and report upon the plans of the proposed bridge across the Ohio River about 1 mile below the junction of the Allegheny and Monongahela rivers, submitted by the Ohio Con
necting Railway Company," would respectfully submit the following report:
The Board met at Pittsburgh on the 14th of June, in accordance with the call of the senior member, and held a public session in the Monongahela House, of which public session due notice and invitation to be present was given to all interested persons by advertisement in two newspapers in the city of Pittsburgh and in two newspapers in the city of Cincinnati.
At this session the Ohio Connecting Railway Company was represented by the chief engineer and by the general manager of the lines of the Pennsylvania Company west of Pittsburgh, and the river interests were represented by a number of leading coal operators.
The orders convening the Board were duly read, and the maps were examined and informally discussed by those present. Meanwhile the coal operators had arranged to take a tow of empty barges down to the site of the proposed bridge in order to illustrate, as far as practicable, the method of navigating that part of the river by coal tows, and the bridge engineers had marked by buoys the location of the proposed channel-piers. .
In the afternoon the members of the Board and the representatives of river and rail transportation met, by invitation, on a tow-boat belonging to Mr. Simpson Horner, to which a tow of nine empty barges had been attached, and proceeded down the river to the head of Brunot's Island. As the river was about 3 feet below a barge stage, causing a slack current in the natural pool above Brunot's Island, and as an upstream wind was blowing, it was not practicable to handle a tow of empty barges as would have been done with a loaded tow; but the method of navigating this piece of river was very clearly pointed out. Owing to the swiftness of the current through the Glasshouse Channel it was considered unadvisable to take the fleet below the head of Brunot's Island, and accordingly it was dropped at Brown's Landing, and the tow-boat, with its passengers, proceeded to a point near the foot of the island, where an examination was made of a bridge site which was considered by river men as the least objectionable of any in this section of the river; from this point the party returned to Pittsburgh.
After careful study of the drawings and of the ground the Board have concluded that the site selected by the bridge company is unusually unfavorable to the river interests. From the Smithfield Street Bridge to Brunot's Island is the natural pool in which coal boats and barges are held until a rise in the river permits their passage to southern markets. The whole length of the southwest banks of the Monongahela and Ohio rivers, within the length named, is usually lined with loaded coal boats and barges, and a few are held against the right bank. When a rise comes these barges and boats are rapidly tied up into fleets and pushed down the river. The channels on either side of Brunot's Island are difficult and dangerous to run. The regular or right-hand channel has a very abrupt turn at its head, into what is known as the Glasshouse Channel; but after making this turn there is no further trouble, as the channel is nearly straight for many miles. The left-hand or back channel is easy and straight at the head, but it is very crooked at the foot, especially at McKee's Rocks, where it is necessary to make an abrupt turn through more than a right angle. Moreover, this channel is impassable in low water on account of a low riprap dam just below the mouth of Chartier's Creek, and as a rule it is never used except in cases of necessity. As matters now stand the
right-hand or Glasshouse Channel is the channel that is actually used
The Board find as statements of fact that Ohio River coal fleets are always made up of boats and barges tied and chained together so as to make a solid mass, with the tow-boat at the stern, firmly fastened to the fleet, with about two-thirds of its length projecting to the rear as a huge rudder; that the tow-boat is always a stern-wheeler, handling her tow mainly by use of the currents; that fleets are made up in the harbor of Pittsburgh with their heads up stream; that as they float down they throw their sterns into still water and their heads into swift water, in order to turn the tow and head it down-stream; that the operation is usually carried on by throwing the stern over to the right bank; that, owing to the limited length of the pool, boats frequently drift down to the head of the Glasshouse Channel, with their tows crosswise of the river, almost touching either bank; that when just above the head of Glasshouse the stern is backed up against the right or Allegheny shore, and the fleet, swinging on the stern as a center, describes the arc of a circle until the current draws the head into the Glasshouse Channel; and the rest of the tow is then allowed to follow. The Board also find that fleets sometimes miss the turn into Glasshouse and are compelled to make their way down by the back channel, and that sometimes when swinging into Glasshouse they can not hold up strong enough against the right bank, and are drawn onto the bar at the head of Brunot's Island.
From these facts it is evident to the Board that at every coal run the great majority of the fleets actually and necessarily pass over the spot selected for the left-hand channel-pier, and the creation of such an obstacle at such a place would not only cause great loss of property, but would ultimately force the abandonment of the present method of making up coal fleets, and compel the passage of this place by a few barges at a time, transferring to some point below the assembling into fleets for passage down the river. As the natural pools in the upper end of the Ohio River are very short, this necessity would create great embarrassment, would add considerably to the cost of transportation, and would reduce the amount of coal that could be shipped during short summer rises, on account of the impossibility of getting it ready during the limit of time available.
The Board also find that the line of the proposed bridge is not nor mal to the current at all stages, as is required by law, but departs from such a line by an angle of 130. Assuming the south end of the proposed bridge to be fixed, the axis should be swung to the east through an arc of 13° in order to be at right angles to the current.
It has been suggested that if there were several movable dams on the Ohio fleets would no longer be made up in Pittsburgh, but at points below, and that there would then be no valid objection to the proposed bridge. The Board agree with the suggestion, provided the axis of the bridge were changed as indicated, but do not feel at liberty to anticipate the future; and therefore consider themselves to be under the necessity of basing their report and recommendations on what now exists at the location in question.
After mature deliberation the Board feel constrained to state that in their best judgment any bridge at the locality selected by the Ohio Railway Connecting Railway Company, except one spanning the whole width of the river, would be objectionable; but they believe that with a change in axis, as recommended and a clear opening of 800 feet,