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Referring to the injuries caused by a freshet in 1870, the same report says:

The same freslet carried away the toll-bridge at Hallowell, leaving the piers in the river. The remains of the bridge piers are now submerged at high water aud form a dangerous obstacle on which many vessels have been injured.

I am informed that a railroad bridge has been constructed across the navigable portion of the York River, Maine, for the improvement of which an appropriation was made by Congress, August 5, 1886. So far as I am aware, no authority has been obtained from Congress for constructing the bridge mentioned, and it is therefore not known how far it may cause obstruction.

The points mentioned cover all that are known to exist witbin the limits of works in charge of this office. Very respectfully, your obedient servant,


Alajor of Engineers. The CHIEF OF ENGINEERS, U. S. A.


Newport, R.I., November 4, 1887. SIR: Referring to General Orders, No. 7, Ileadquarters Corps of En. gineers, current series, respecting the interference with free and safe navigation by bridges, causeways, and other structures, I have the honor to state that complaint has been made of the bridge of the Boston and Providence Railroad Company, which crosses the Pawtucket (Seekonk) River, Rhode Island, near its mouth, between the city of Providence and East Providence, and of the Old Colony Railroad Bridge over the Taunton River between Somerset and Fall River, Mass.

PAWTUCKET RIVER BRIDGE. About 500 feet above this bridge is a highway bridge connecting Providence and East Providence, wbich was erected in lieu of the old Washington Bridge, which was about 250 feet above the railroad bridge and has been removed.

I quote the following description of the railroad bridge, and of the difficulties experienced in passing through it and the old Washington Bridge, from the annual report of the late General Warren for 1874:

The act authorizing the construction of the present bridge, built in 1867–68, passed the general assembly in 1866. This act provided that the draw of the bridge sbould be at least 60 feet in width, and that the proposed bridge and draw shonld be located in a manner satisfactory to Robert Sherman, esq., of Pawtucket. The first condition has been carried out; as to the latter, I am not informed.

This bridge is 3964 feet long, divided into three spans and a draw. Commencing on the west side there is first a span of 113 feet; next one of 1084 feet; next is the draw, 154 feet, with openings of 60 feet in the clear; and last, a short span of 204 feet, one end of which rests on a stone pier, the only one in the bridge, the other end resting on the abutment. The superstructure is a Howo truss.

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To facilitate the passage of vessels through this and Washington Bridge, double lines of piling have been put in between tho draws of the two bridges. This piling has been extended about 300 feet above Washington Bridge, and one line has been extended about the same distance below the railroad bridge. The space between these lines of piles varies from 38 to 60 feet.

The difficulties of navigation through these bridges were clearly set forth in the report of General Warren, from which the above extract is taken.

ENG 88-167

Colonel Elliot reported upon these bridges on December 8, 1884, and again on December 21, 1886. In the latter report Colonel Elliot states that

Although the passage of the draw of the railroad bridge has been somewhat ameliorated by the increase of distance between the two bridges, essentially the same dificulties are experienced as before, and as stated in my report of December 8, 1884, published in Ex. Doc. No. 12, Forty-ninth Congress, first session.

The draw of the new bridge is well located near the middle of the channel, and it has two draw openings, each 80 feet wide in the clear.

The draw of the railroad bridge is not on or near the prolongation of the draw of the upper bridge, as it should be, but is near the easteru side of the river in a con. cave bend, and its single available draw opening is practically but about 45 feet wide.

Colonel Elliot further states : As the existing condition cannot be much longer endured by the navigation interests of the Pawtucket River, it is a striking example of the impolicy on the one hand of any corporation or individual constructing any bridge over a navigable stream without first obtaining the consent of Congress and the approval of the plans of the bridge, and on the other, of the United States permitting such construction without such consent and approval.

There has been a material change in the railroad bridge during the past year. The available width of the one draw opening has been increased from about 40 to 60 feet. A line of piling has been driven as a guide through this opening, and the city of Providence has placed a similar line south of the Washington Bridge, so that there is a continuous line of guide piles from one bridge to the other, with the exception of an opening of about 100 feet midway between the two bridges. The draw opening of the railroad bridge is now nearly or quite in line with the eastern draw opening of the Washington Bridge, and the pil. ing has been carried below the railroad bridge some 250 feet, on a curve of perhaps 250 or 300 feet radius, following the general trend of the river at this point. This improvement has been of substantial benefit to the navigation of the river, and it removes in part the objections which have heretofore been made against the design and location of this bridge.

This bridge lies wholly within the State of Rhode Island.

The United States are dredging a channel in Pawtucket River abore this bridge to a depth of 12 feet at mean low water, at an estimated cost of $380,000.


This bridge crosses Taunton River between Somerset anl Fall River, at an angle of about 45 degrees with the current and with the general course of the stream. It has a draw of a total length of 185 feet, which rests upon a pier oblique both to the direction of the current and of the bridge, as shown on the sketch herewith. The width of the draw opening is about 73 feet in the direction of the axis of the bridge, or 53 feet in a direction at right angles to the current.

The average strength of the tidal current through the draw is a little over 2 feet, and 14 feet, per second, at the strongest part of the ebb and flood, respectively.

Complaint is made that the draw of this bridge is closed 15 minutes before the time for the passage of trains, and as trains are often delayed for a considerable time this becomes a serious inconvenience to navigation. Tows of four or five vessels are frequently required to pass the draw, and are subjected to more or less danger by this delay. As the makes an angle of about 34 degrees with the current, it becomes necessary for vessels either to run through obliquely to the current or to make a short turn in the draw.

Without.changing the location of this bridge, it appears that the requirements of navigation could best be fulfilled by placing the draw. protection parallel to the current and increasing the draw opening.

The bridge lies wholly within the State of Massachusetts.

More than $150,000 has been expended by the General Government in improving the river above this bridge. Very respectfully, your obedient servent,


Major of Engineers. The CHIEF OF ENGINEERS, U. S. A.




Philadelphia, Pa., June 10, 1887. SIR: Referring to General Orders No. 7, Headquarters Corps of Engineers, U.S. Army, June 2, 1887, 1 have the honor to state that no change has taken place in the number or construction of the bridges, causways, etc., over navigable streams in this district since my full and detailed report on the subject dated January 7, 1887, made in compliance with General Orders No. 7, series of 1886, from your headquarters, except that in place of tbe old wooden bridge over the Schuylkill River, at Market street, a new iron bridge is in process of erection. Like the other bridges above Chestnut street, it will have no draw. Very respectfully, your obedient servant,


Licut. Col. of Engineers. The CHIEF or ENGINEERS, U. S. A.

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Wilmington, Del., October 28, 1887. GENERAL : In compliance with instructions in General Orders No. 7, Headquarters Corps of Engineers, current series, I have the honor to submit the following report concerning the bridges upon the rivers and harbors in this district that interfere with navigation.

A report on this subject was submitted January 10, 1857, and printed in Senate Ex. Doc. No. 105, Forty-ninth Congress, second session. There have been no changes in the construction of the bridges mentioned in that report, and my recommendations are renewed. In addition to that report I submitted, on May 3, 1897, to the Chief of En. gineers the following:

I have the honor to report that a franchise was granted in 1885 by the legislature of the State of Delaware to the Philadelphia, Wilmington and Baltimore Railroad Company to construct two bridges across the Christiana River, which forms what is called the harbor of Wilmington. I learn from gooil authority that it is the intention of the company to begin to build these bridges at an early day.

The upper one is situated 5,700 feet above the Market Street Bridge and is distant on a line on the axis of the current 200 feet below the bridge of the Wilmington and Northern Railroad Company. It makes an angle of about 15 degrees 15 minutes with that bridge.

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Tlie project adopted by the Board of Engineers (see page 775, Part I, Appual Report of the Chief of Engineers for 1881) is for the improvement of the Christiana River to the Delaware Railroad Company's Bridge, 6,500 feet farther up the river.

The nearness and obliquity of the proposed bridge to the Wilmington and Northern Railroad Compavy's Bridge offer a serious obstacle to free and safe navigation.

The second bridge is situated 7,000 feet from the outer end of the jetty and 4,900 feet below the Third Street Bridge.

Both of these bridges are required to be made with draws, and the draw of the lower one is required to be worked by the railroail company.

Any draw-bridge is an impediment to the free and sale navigation of a river. The degree to which it impedes safo navigation depends of course upon the width of the draw, the facility with which it is worked, and the direction of the draw-pier with reference to the direction of the current.

All the commerce of the port of Wilmington will pass throngb the lower bridge, the draw of which is required to bo sufficiently wide to permit the passage of vessels having 100 feet beam.

When the present contract for dredging is completed the channel will have a depth of 15 feet and a width of 75 feet. A draw-pier of 25 feet in width if placed in midchannel will leave but 23 feet of cbannel on either side, which will amount to a practical closing of the river. The approved project for the improvement of the harbor calls for a channel 150 foet in width with 15 feet in depth. Therefore a draw.pier placed entirely on one side of the channel would not fit into the approved project. The line of the bridge as at present laid out is not at right angles to the axis of the current but on the smaller angle is 9 degrees. That would make a serions obstacle to the safe navigation of the river, taking into account a draw-pier of 225 feet in length and making an angle with the current of 81 degrees. A draw-bridge located as it is proposed to locate the one discussed, where all the water commerce of the city passes, it should be worked by steam and be manned night and day. There is no provision of law requiring either of these conditions.

I have no information as to the plans for the bridges, and there may therefore be other serious objections which I cannot with present information report. The draw of such a bridge as is proposed should be above mean high water at such a distauce that tugs could pass by lowering the smoke stacks.

The following are copies of the letter of the Chief of Engineers with which this report was submitted to the Secretary of War and the indorsement of the Secretary of War thereon: OFFICE OF THE CHIEF OF EXGINEERS, UNITED STATES Army,

Washington, D. C., June 3, 1687. Sir: I have the honor to submit herewith a communication of May 30, from Mr. W.F. Smith, United States Agent, reporting that the Philadelphia, Wilmington and Baltimore Railroad Company is about to construct two bridges across Christiana River, under an act of the legislature of Delaware of 1885, which will seriously impair the work in progress by the United States for the improvement of the river.

In consideration of the opinion of Attorney-General Garland of May 1, 1856, in tbe matter of the railroad bridge across the Mississippi River at Saint Paul, which is as follows: “Where, however, the interests of the United States are directly concerned, as, for example, if the structure should threaten injury to, or interfere with, any work of the General Government for the improvement of the river, a civil proceeding to protect such work may be instituted in its behalf in the proper circuit court” (United States v. Duluth, 1 Dill, 469''), it is respectfully submitted whether the matter is not such as should be bronght to the notice of the Department of Justice for such action as it may deem proper. Very respectfully, your obedient servant,


Brig. Gen., Chief of Engineers. Hon. WM. C. ENDICOTT,

Secretary of Tar.

(First indorsement.)

WAR DEPARTMENT, June 8, 1897. Respectfully returned to the Chief of Engineers.

It appears that the bridges are to be constructed under the authority of an act of the legislature of the State of Delaware.

The War Department is not authorized to take action in the caso, except as provided by section 4, river and harbor act approved August 5, 1836. Ly order of the Secretary of War.


Chief Clerk.

Since my report of May 3, 1887, the work of construction of these bridges has begun.

At the upper bridge the pivot-pier is to be 36 feet 6 inches in diameter with two draw spans of 78 feet in the clear, and at the lower bridge the pivot-pier will be 36 feet 6 inches in diameter, and two draw-spans 100 feet in the clear. Very respectfully, your obedient servant,


United States Agent. The CHIEF OF ENGINEERS, U.S. A.



Norfolk, Va., February 21, 1887. GENERAL: I have the honor to state that on the 24th ultimo I made a report* to you npon bridges, causeways, or structures in this district which interfere with free and safe navigation, as provided for in section 4 of the river and barbor act of August 5, 1886, and in General Orders No. 7, Ileadquarters Corps of Engineers, United States Army, series 1886. I now make the following supplementary report, as the dredging operations in progress in the southern branch portion of Norfolk Ilar. bor, Virginia, have recently disclosed the fact that the two marine railways, belonging to Mr. John L. Thomas and Mr. William B: Thomas, respectively, “will interfere with free and safe navigation” therein as soon as the work of dredging shall have been completed.

I transmit herewith a map of the locality in question ; a copy of a report, dated the 7th instant, of Mr. H. J. Gielow, assistant engineer, relative to his examination of these structures, and a copy of a communication dated June 20, 1882, from General V. D. Groner, president board of barbor commissioners, to said John L. Thomas, authorizing him to project his railway beyond the port-warden line under certain conditions.

On the 20th ultimo I wrote Capt. Charles G. Elliott, president board of harbor commissioners, as follows:

The Government is now engaged in improving the Southern Branch by dredging tu a depth of not less than 25 feet and a width of at least 500 feet at mean low water.

The marine railways of John L. Thomas and William B. Thomas extend beyond the port warden lines and interfere with the foregoing.

Pleaso have them removed as soon as possible, that ile work of improvement may not be delayed.

It is understood that the said board, at its meeting on the 14th instant, authorized the employment of an engineer to define the portwarden lines for the locality under consideration and report on the same. This will take some time, as many of the old marks to which points were referred have disappeared. Nr. Gielow, however, made a close approximation to the location of the port warden line in the vicinity of the said railways.

It appears from the foregoing that the railway of Mr John L. Thomas has been built under the authority of said board (whose jurisdiction over the matter may be questioned). It is on a pile foundation, and extends 93 feet, more or less, from the port warden line into the chan.

* Printed in Senate Es. Doc. No. 105, Forty-niuth Congress, second session.

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