[Report]MONTREAL, 13th February, 1855.
To J. B. JARVIS, Esquire,
Sir,-In accordance with your letter of instructions, dated 16th August, 1854, I came to this city, and delivered the letter of introduction you furnished me with, to the Hon. H. H. Killaly, who immediately furnished me with a party of assistants. And I proceeded at once to make the necessary examinations and surveys, to make an estimate of the cost of building a Ship Canal to connect the navigable waters of Lake Champlain with the River St. Lawrence.
I have made a careful examination of the several lines reported upon: they have been examined with reference to the kind of material to be excavated (by sinking test pits,) as well as the quantities that would have to be moved in building the work.
The estimates have been made for a Canal with 80 feet of width at bottom, slopes of two horizontal to one vertical, with banks sixteen feet high, and calculated in ordinary times for eleven feet depth of water, and during the seasons when there may be unusual high water in the St. Lawrence, and the Lakes, to be used with twelve feet of water; the Locks to be 230 feet long, on the clear between the gates, and 36 feet wide, with one foot less depth of water on the Mitre Sills than there is depth of water in the Canal.
The masonry in the Locks, Aqueducts and Culverts, is estimated for on the supposition that it is to be of the first quality, stone masonry laid throughout in hydraulic cement mortar; the face stones in the locks to be cut so as to lay to one-fourth of an inch join; the backing to be rubble work.
The Aqueducts to be rubble masonry, piers and abutments with wooden trunk. It is expected that the masonry of the piers and abutments will be made of large stone, laid in courses, though it is not intended that every stone shall fill the full depth of the course in which it is laid, but that the course may be made of one or two stones in depth.
The estimated price for Lock walls is $8 per cubic yard; Aqueduct masonry, $7 per cubic yard; Culvert masonry, $10 per cubic yard; Concrete in foundation, $5 50c. per cubic yard; Dry wall in wings of Culverts, $2 50c. per cubic yard. The price for Culvert masonry is high, in consequence of its being necessary to put in concrete foundations, and a cut stone arch in the bottom, as nearly all the streams that they are intended to pass are entirely dry during a great part of the summer.
The first line estimated on is by the way of the Chambly Canal and River Richelieu. There are several bars in the River between Rouse's Point and St. Johns, which will have to be dredged, to give a uniform depth of ten feet of water during the low stages in the summer and fall. In the aggregate these will not amount to more than two and one-fourth (2 1/4) miles in length, and are of a soft material, that may be easily dredged.
At St. Johns it will be necessary to build a new Pier, to make a proper harbour for vessels, and for the reconstruction of rafts going south. It is proposed to build a new Guard Lock to the east of the present one, at about the same point on the river, and retain the present one as a sluice to pass water into the new Canal, and to enlarge the present Canal from the Guard Lock to the head of Lock No. 2. For a great part of this distance the present Canal is built in the river. It is proposed to enlarge that portion of it along the river by building a bank in the outside of the present tow-path, except at some points where it may be necessary to cut into the points, to procure material, and to preserve a good line.
The present Canal is made for the most of the distance opposite the Island of St. Therese, by using the west channel of the river. The estimates are based on the supposition that this channel will be used to the end of the Island, and the Canal continued in the river below it for 3800 feet lineal, by constructing a new bank for that distance; from this point it is intended to cut a new Canal for 2000 feet, joining the present Canal at the waste weir, just south of Hatt's Mills; by this arrangement the river or wide reach will he extended for about a mile further than it is now used. The bottom of that part of the river which would be brought into use by this extension is lower than the bottom line of the Canal, so that no excavations would be needed to get the proper depth of water in the Canal.
Where the banks of the enlarged Canal will have to be made in the river, provision has been made in the estimate for substantial retaining wall, and at those places where the water is deep the estimate provides for crib work to found the wall upon. From Lock No. 2 to Chambly Basin, I have made an estimate for an entire new Canal, to be located on the west side of the present Canal, keeping close to it, until it comes near Chambly, where it will curve into the basin at the south side of the present Locks, coming as close as possible to them. It is intended to make the same number of Locks, and of the same lift as those now in use: by this arrangement the Canal can be enlarged, and brought into use, without interfering with the navigation of the present Canal. The Locks on the present Canal will be valuable as sluices for the enlargement.
From soundings that I have made in the river below Chambly, it is evident that by raising the Dam at St. Ours four feet it will give ten feet of water at all points on the river during the driest times. For nearly the whole length of the river the water is of a much greater depth. The bars which form the present shoals are of a material which might be dredged, but it is probably cheaper to raise the Dam than to improve the navigation by dredging, and the estimates have been prepared with this view.
The second line estimated on is from St. Johns to Longueuil. The line will follow over the same ground that would be occupied by the Chambly enlargement for 8 3/4 miles from St. Johns. It then bears off to the west at the foot of the high ground or hill, known as the "Grand Coteau," and follows the foot of that high ground, until the line crosses the Little Montreal River, at which point it turns to the north and runs in a line almost straight to Longueuil, terminating in the St. Lawrence at the west side of the depot of the Grand Trunk Railroad Company.
Immediately after leaving the Chambly Canal, a little heavy cutting occurs for a few hundred feet. After passing this cut to the Little Montreal River, a distance of about five miles, the country is favorable for a wide Canal, and it would add but little to the expense to make it from 150 to 200 feet wide. After passing the Little Montreal River, low ground is encountered for about 2 miles, and as the work will be principally embankment, it will be as cheap to make the Canal from two or three hundred feet wide as. of any narrower width; beyond this the cutting is more than enough to make the banks. It would materially increase the expense to make a channel of more than the ordinary size.. A considerable rock cutting is found on the north end of this line, which cannot be avoided. I had examinations made to find a shorter line, but was entirely unsuccessful.
The third line estimated on is from St. Johns to Caughnawaga, with the Champlain level as a summit. This line will follow over the same ground that would be occupied by the Longueuil Canal, until it crosses the Little Montreal River, and from there continues on at the foot of the hill, which, with a few breaks extends to Caughnawaga. There are few places where heavy cutting is encountered for short distances, but the greater part of the way, a Canal 150 to 200 feet wide might be made as cheap as a narrow one.
The St. Lawrence near Caughnawaga has many bars and shoals in it; no practicable place could be found to terminate the Canal until after passing more than 12 miles to the west of the Village: at this place there is a broad, deep channel, extending across the whole river, having its other terminus at the head of the Lachine Canal. In sounding the river, no place was found in this channel, between the South Shore and the Steamboat Channel with less than fifteen feet of water. I have sounded the river with great care, with a view of getting a terminus further east, and am satisfied that there is no safe place between this point and the Lachine Rapids to make a safe terminus. There is but little heavy work at any point on this line. The materials are all of a good quality for building a Canal. The line, after leaving the Chambly Canal, is very straight, though it forms quite a circuit to get round the north-east point of the "Grand Coteau."
The Fourth Line estimated upon is in almost a direct line from St. Johns to Caughnawaga. It commences just north of the Barracks at St. Johns, crossing the Railroad at the south of the passenger depot ; it then follows at the west side of the Railroad, and parallel to it, for three miles, where it bears off in a westerly direction in almost a straight line, to within four miles of its terminus at the St. Lawrence : at this point it takes a more northerly direction, and runs in a direct line to the St. Lawrence, terminating at the same place that was selected for the Champlain level to terminate.
By this line it will be necessary to ascend three locks to the summit. These locks will all be within two miles of St. Johns. The descent is by five locks which are all within four miles of the St. Lawrence. All the locks are of 12 1/2 feet lift each. The short levels are all long enough to make good reaches for navigation.
The summit on this line will have to be supplied by a feeder from the St. Lawrence; taken from some point further west. In accordance with your instructions, I have made an estimate for the feeder, to be the same size as the Canal, and to be navigable, and also another estimate for a feeder of smaller dimensions, intended only to be of sufficient size to supply the Canal with water.
The country from St. Johns to Caughnawaga and Beauharnois, on this route, is of a very favorable character to build a Canal in. The excavation will generally be easy, and the material good for water tight works.
The only place that Rock will be found in the excavation of this line of Canal is near Caughnawaga, and there is but a small quantity at that place; no Rock will be found in the excavation for the feeder.
This line of Canal and navigable feeder might be made wider than the regular size, for a great part of their length without increasing the expense. In some places it will be necessary to increase the width, to get the materials for the banks. For a large part of the distance it can be made 200 to 250 feet wide, as cheap as any less width.
I have been aided in this survey by the following assistants, Messrs. Samuel Gamble, William D. Jarvis, William G. Pemberton, George E. Lindsay, George Bathgate, and W. U. Graddon, who have conducted their several duties with a highly commendable intelligence, industry and fidelity.Respectfully yours,
(Signed,) EDW. H. TRACY, Civil Engineer.
Return to Home Port
This volume was digitized from the collections of the Marine Museum of the Great Lakes at Kingston