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IMPROVEMENT OF CHICKAHOMINY RIVER, VIRGINIA.
HISTORY OF OPERATIONS.
The obstruction to navigation consisted of three bars—Binn's, Old Fort, and Windsor Shades—from 23 to 25 miles above the mouth of the river, over which but 4 to 5 feet could be carried at low-water.
The first appropriation for the improvement of this river was made June 18, 1878, amounting to $5,000. Under this appropriation channels 60 feet wide and 8 feet deep at low-water were dredged through Windsor Shades and Old Fort bars, and a channel 100 feet wide and 8 feet deep at low-water through Binn's Bar. This work was completed May 5, 1879.
The next appropriation was made March 3, 1879, but was so small in amount ($1,000) that no improvement could be economically effected.
The river and harbor act of June 14, 1880, appropriated $2,000 for continuing operations. This, with the previous unexpended appropriation, made an available sum at the beginning of the fiscal year of $3,000.
The work was awarded to H. E. Culpepper, of Portsmouth, Va., at 14.9 cents per cubic yard, and the contract was entered into September 27, 1880.
Work was begun November 13, 1880, at Binn's Bar, and completed December 16, 1880, when 10,000 cubic yards had been removed, securing an additional width of 100 feet to the channel dredged in 1879, making the channel now 200 feet wide and 8 feet deep at low-water.
At Old Fort Bar work was commenced December 17, 1880, and completed December 27, 1880. The channel, which was dredged in 1879 60 feet wide and 8 feet deep, was widened to 100 feet, 2,440 cubic yards having been removed.
The contractor's plant was then removed to Windsor Shades Bar, and the channel, which was dredged in 1879 to a width of 60 feet and depth of 8 feet at low-water, was widened to 100 feet, 4,493 cubic yards having been removed.
On the 18th of February, 1881, the work was completed.
The act of March 3, 1881, appropriated $2,000 for continuing the improvement. This amount was too small to be offered for contract. It was therefore recommended that it be reserved until additional appropriations be made.
The work remaining to be done is the improvement of the bar at the mouth of the river, the construction of dikes to close several subsidiary channels, and the removal of snags and drift logs at points above the improved bars.
The examination of the river made in April, 1882, shows the present condition of the work to be as follows:
The channel through Windsor Shades Bar has preserved the dimensions to which it was originally dredged, 100 feet wide and from 8 to 9 feet deep at low-water.
The channel through Old Fort Bar, which was dredged 100 feet wide, has decreased in width at the upper end by shoaling to 75 feet, the depth, however, being from 8 to 94 feet at low-water.
The channel through Binn's Bar, which was dredged to a width of 200 feet, has also decreased in width at the upper end to about 160 feet. The least depth is 71 feet and the average depth 84 feet at low-water. This shoaling at the upper ends of these channels is due to cross tidal currents.
Vessels drawing 9 feet can now load at Windsor Shades Landing, but as some of them draw more than that, and as the freight from above Windsor Shades has to be loaded on lighters, it is run down below Binn's Bar, where nearly all the vessels load at the present time. Some of these vessels draw from 10 to 12 feet.
From Windsor Shades to Winn's Landing, 24 miles above, there is an average depth of 7 feet at low-water, and the river is from 150 to 250 feet in width. There are four bars on this section with less than 6 feet at low-water, the total length of these bars being about 2,200 feet, and the average cutting to make a 6-foot channel would be about 1.2 feet.
The bars seem to be composed of sand, and there are no stumps or snags on them. The least depth is 31 feet at low-water.
The lighters, which now carry all the freight shipped from points above Windsor Shades, draw from 3 to 4 feet. No complaint has been made from the lighter-men of insufficient depth over these shoals, and it does not appear that the trade would warrant the expense of dredging the bars to the depth which vessels would require to run to Winn's Landing.
Above Winn's Landing lighter navigation extends up as far as Holly Landing, at the mouth of a canal near Forge Bridges. At that point the river is 60 feet wide and has a depth on the bars of 24 feet at lowwater. The trade on this section of the river is almost exclusively wood and lumber, which is shipped on lighters to the vessels below Binn's Bar. The lighter-men complain most of the snags, logs, and overhang. ing trees. When loaded they are obliged to run over the bars at highwater.
Between Holly Landing and Winn's Landing there are twenty-one snags, four drift logs, two stumps, and eighteen overhanging trees, which should be removed to give a clear channel.
At Winn's Landing an old vessel has been recently sunk across the river, which obstructs two-thirds of the best water-way and seriously injures the navigation of the river.
Between Winn's Landing and Windsor Shades three snags were found in the channel.
On a point which extends from the left bank of the river just below Old Fort Bar there are four or five cypress stumps, which are complained of by pilots anu lighter-men.
At a point where the Chesapeake and Ohio Railroad touches the river, about 6 miles below Binn's Bar, several large trees have been carried into the stream by land-slides, caused by the weight of material dumped on the railroad embankment near by. One of these trees extends more than half-way across the river (which is quite narrow at this point), and entirely obstructs the deepest portion of the channel.
The captains of vessels complain most of the bar at the mouth of the river where it enters the James. At this point there is a depth of 104 feet at low-water, but the channel appears to be of insufficient width.
The cost of removing the obstructions above Windsor Shades is estimated at about $600, but it will be necessary to have the snag-boats and other appliances for this kind of work. The steamer which formerly ran on the river has been taken off on account of the competition of the ex. tension of the Chesapeake and Ohio Railroad, and it is probable that the river trade will hereafter be confined to wood, lumber, and timber.
The bar at the mouth of the river now forms the principal obstruction to navigation. A survey of this bar was made in June, 1882, and it was found that the minimum depth was 12.3 feet at low-water. The channel is, however, very narrow and tortuous, and vessels frequently ground and are delayed in entering and leaving the river.
The plan of improvement proposed contemplates dredging a channel 200 feet wide and 14 to 15 feet deep at low-water through the bar. The material is hard gravel and sand, and the dredging will probably be found difficult; allowance for this has been made in the estimate. I estimate the cost of the work as follows: 38,167 cubic yards dredging, at 40 cents..
$15, 266 80 Contingencies, 15 percent..
2, 290 00
17,556 80 Appropriations have been made as follows: June 18, 1878.
$5,000 March 3, 1879
1,000 June 14, 1880.
2,000 March 3, 1881
2,000 The work is in the collection district of Richmond, which is the nearest port of entry. The collections for the year ending June 30, 1882, were $23,009.69.
The nearest light-house is Deep-Water Shoal light-house, in the fifth light-house district.
Money statement. July 1, 1881, amount available...
$2,023 65 July 1, 1882, annount expended during fiscal year, exclusive of outstanding liabilities July 1, 1881.....
265 28 July 1, 1882, amount available......
1,758 37 Amount appropriated by act passed August 2, 1882.
5,000 00 Amount available for fiscal year ending June 30, 1883.
6,758 37 Amount (estimated) required for completion of existing project..... 18,000 00 Amount that can be profitably expended in fiscal year ending June 30, 1884. 18,000 00
The following statistics of trade have been furnished by Mr. C. Perkins, of Providence Forge, New Kent County, Virginia: Bacon
$42, 000 Coal.....
5,000 Fish and oysters
35, 000 Fruits (green and dried).
23, 000 Poultry
6,000 Railroad ties.
150,000 Staves and barrel timber
1, 110,000 Manufactures. Agricultural implements..
5,000 Drugs and chemicals
5,000 5,000 6,00 50,000
241,000 There are fourteen steam saw-mills, two steam grist-mills, and four water grist-mills, making twenty in all, with a capital of $50,000, doing business during 1881 amounting to $100,000.
The number of arrivals and departures of steam vessels is 100, sailing vessels 300, the greatest draught of the latter being 12 feet.
The country tributary to the river has been traversed by the Chesapeake and Ohio Railroad Company, and has the prospect of opening up other industries and improving the country generally. Agricultural industries will be improved and other facilities will be afforded the people to get supplies from the west, and it is suggested that a large coastwise coal trade will be done on the river at a point at which the road comes in contact with the river.
If it is substantially a fact, then it will become necessary to deepen the river at many points below Blayton's Banks, and improve its mouth also.
At the present, in my judgment, the most beneficial expenditure of the funds now, and any that may be appropriated at the present session of Congress, would be to remove logs and other obstructions in the river up to Forge Bridge, and deepening the channel to about 6 feet.
The work already done has been of great benefit to navigation, and remains in good condition.
It has been suggested that the cuts are not of sufficient width, and should be widened, and other parrow passways widened also.
IMPROVEMENT OF STAUNTON RIVER, VIRGINIA.
HISTORY OF THE IMPROVEMENT.
An examination of the river between Brookneal and Roanoke Station was made in 1878, and my report may be found in the Report of the Chief of Engineers for 1879, Part I, page 622.
1879.—The first appropriation for the improvement was made March 3, 1879, and amounted to $5,000.
A survey was necessary before plans for improvement could be prepared, and this was made in October and November, 1879, a report of which, with estimates in detail, may be found in the Report of the Chief of Engineers for 1880, Part I, page 780.
1880.-The project for the improvement was to provide a channel through the bars and ledges, not less than 35 feet wide and 2 feet deep at low-water, the improvement to be effected by blasting rocks and by removing sand-bars by means of spur-dikes of crib-work filled with stone.
At the close of the fiscal year ending June 30, 1880, all the plant necessary for beginning the improvement had been provided. A der. rick-boat, quarter-boat, and stone scows were built by hired labor, and tools and materials purchased in open market.
The work of quarrying stone was begun in July, near Clark's Dam, and continued till August 19, when 812 cubic yards had been quarried and placed near the river bank. On the 20th of August the work of blasting rock from the channel was begun at Hawk Mountain.
Seven hundred and seventy-eight cubic yards of rock were removed from the channel during the season.
1881.-Work was resumed on the 24th of May, 1881, at Hawk Mountain and continued until the close of the fiscal year, 1,306 cubic yards of rock being removed.
There were but three days during this period when no work was done.
The act of March 3, 1881, appropriated $5,000 for continuing the improvement.
WORK OF THE PAST FISCAL YEAR.
The improvement of Hawk Mountain Shoal, which was in progress at the close of the fiscal year ending June 30, 1881, was completed July 14, 1881, when the derrick-boats were removed to Horseback Shoal, a few miles below.
The rock at the upper end of this last-named shoal was found to be a solid white quartz, the removal of which was very difficult.
The drilling and blasting operations were frequently interrupted during July and August by floods and storms.
The improvement at Clark's Shoal, about 34 miles above Roanoke, was commenced June 27, 1881. The shoal was composed of sand, and the plan of improvement adopted was the construction of wing-dams of crib work, the dams being built of logs and filled with stone.
Some delay was experienced at this point, in July, from very low stages of the river, which made it impracticable to transport the stone necessary for filling the cribs.
The bed of the river was paved above and below the dams to prevent undermining.
On September 19, 1881, a freshet occurred in the river, reaching the height, at Horseback Rock, of 141 feet above low-water, and causing a delay in the blasting operations of three and a half days.
On November 1 another freshet occurred, reaching the height of 104 feet above low-water at Horseback Rock. It was not found practicable to remove rock from the channel after 1st of November on account of the low temperature of the water.
On November 5, the funds available for the work being exhausted, active operations were brought to a close, and the boats removed to Roanoke or Talcott's Station, and placed in charge of a watchman for the winter.
The following is a summary of the operations from July 1, 1881, to the close of work, November 5, 1881: Length of channel improved by rock excavation, including the removal of blasted and loose rock, miles..
31 Length of channel improved by building crib-dams, miles. Number of crib-dams constructed.
12 Total length of dams, feet...
522 Average length of each dam, feet.
431 Cost of building and filling 12 dams..
$753 48 Logs used in crib-dams 8,692 linear feet, at 24 cents
217 30 48 loads of brush were used in the crib-dams, at a cost of 40 cents per load. Average cost of each dam..
62 79 Average cost per linear foot..
1 44 The above prices do not include office work nor transportation.
Cubic yards Blasted rock removed.. Loose rock removed...
1, 136 Sand and gravel removed.
479 Rock removed to allow boats to reach the quarry.
4,625 Estimated cost of removing, per cubic yard, fast and loose rock, sand