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The act May 20, 1836 (V. 32), prescribes the “terms and conditions” upon which the above "advance” was to be made, and provides that,
The Secretary of the Treasury may, at such time, within ten years, as may be most favorable for the sale of said stock, dispose thereof at public sale to reimburse the United States its allvance.
Since, as a matter of fact, the deposit of stock was never made, the concluding prayer of the memorial" will certainly operate as an equitable assignment of the stock, the "advance" having been made by the United States.
From what time the period of " ten years ” is to be compated, whether, if no deposit has yet been made, limitation has yet begun to run, whether the act providing that the Secretary of the Treasury “may” sell the bonds, and giving him discretion to select the most "favorable time,” is to be considered “mandatory” or “discretionary” only, the act not in terms prohibiting performance after the “ ten years,” or whether, if it be held that the limitation of time within which the Secretary can act has elapsed, the courts are not still open to proceedings to be taken by the United States to enforce the lien acquired by the advance," as the tendered pledge of stock, are questions for the law officers of the United States and which must be decided before it can be discovered who is the owner of the Alexandria Canal and Aqueduct (subject to the lease to Dungan, Wells, and Quigley).
And the Secretary of War is further authorized, in his discretion, in the event of said purchase, to repair the wooden bridge now on said piers, and for that purpose is authorized to expend, of the moneys hereinbefore appropriated, a sum not exceeding ten thousand dollars.
This section is precluded from comment by reason of the Alexandria Canal Company refusing to sell the bridge, as stated in comments upon section second.
From the foregoing statements, comments, laws, and facts, it is in. ferred that the Secretary of War can select the site for the bridge; and the site of the “Three Sisters” is recommended to his consideration, for the following reasons: As being the only locality at which a bridge can be constructed for the sum of money appropriated by Congress; also as being equal, if not superior, to the other sites mentioned, in general convenience of access; and, also, for the reason that the site of the aqueduct is precluded from consideration by the resolution of the Alexandria Canal Company, and that the further consideration of the rights of the United States as a shareholder in the Alexandria Canal Company, will give rise to a delay of indefinite duration, which will result in serious injury to the interests of the farmers and citizens who desire and have petitioned for a free bridge.
The relation of the United States to the Alexandria Canal Company and lessees and the action which should be taken, may be brietly stated as follows: The lessees of the Alexanıdria Canal Company are now willing to grant the right to use the bridge and piers of the aqueduct for the unexpired period of their lease, but the legal right to make this grant depended upon the acqniesence of the United States in the validity of the lease, since they were not consulted in framing the lease under which they (the lessees) propose to act.
The Alexaudria Canal Company, to whom the piers and aqueduct
will revert, according to the terms of the lease, at the end of ninetynine years, at an annual meeting, May 16, 1881, of the stockholders, the United States not being represented, refused their consent to the sale of the Aqueduct Bridge, but at that meeting the city of Alexandria voted on 2,280 shares which belonged to the United States. The United States in fact owns 3,000 shares of the 6,800 shares, having an absolute right to vote upon whatever action shall be taken in regard to the use of the piers for bridge purposes. In order to secure its right as stockholder the United States should demand the delivery of the scrip of its stock to the proper officer, and request that a special meeting of the Alexandria Canal Company be at once called, at which meeting they should be represented by proxy. Such action and representation is not unusual. For many years the United States was represented by proxy at the meetings of the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal Company.
PAPERS ACCOMPANYING THIS REPORT.
I. Act of March 3, 1837, providing for the “advance" of $300,000 to the Alexandria Canal Company on the transfer of stock.
II. Lease to Philip Quigley, H. H. Wells, and W. W. Dungan (for ninety-nine years, from 1861) of the Alexandria Canal and the aqueduct over the Potomac, at Georgetown, D, C.
III. Letter from W. W. Dungan, secretary Alexandria Canal, Railroad and Bridge Company, stating that the lessees are willing for the government to have the use of the piers of the Aqueduct Bridge, but that the Alexandria Canal Company, at its adjourned meeting, resolved not to give its consent.
The petition of the company upon which the $300,000 “advance" was made, and also the resolution of the company, dated May 16, 1881, are given in the body of the report, in part only. Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
S. T. ABERT,
United States Civil Engineer. The CHIEF OF ENGINEERS, U. S. A.
REPORT OF MR. S. T. ABERT, UNITED STATES
OF NOVEMBER 15, 1881.
UNITED STATES ENGINEER OFFICE,
Washington, D. C., November 15, 1881. GENERAL: I have the honor to submit the following report upon the proposals for the construction of afree bridge across the Potomac River, near Georgetown, D. C., opened on Saturday, October 29, 1881, in accordance with the act of Congress, approved February 23, 1881.
A copy of the advertisement and general specifications under which the proposals were invited is herewith inclosed (Inclosure No. 1), the act of February 23, 1881, being printed therewith for the information of bidders. The specifications call for a bridge built upon piers and abutments of masonry founded upon solid rock, the superstructure to be of iron, with a double roadway, and two footways. Proposals were invi. ted for the construction of such a bridge at two sites :
1. At a point about 500 feet above the Aqueduct Bridge, and
2. At a point near the “Three Sisters," about 3,100 feet above the Aqueduct Bridge.
Three prices were to be submitted for each site: (1) for piers and abut
ments; (2) for superstructure; and (3) for approaches-the total cost not to exceed the appropriation of $140,000.
The following proposals were received for the construction of the bridge:
For the site 500 feet above the Aqueduct Bridge but one proposal was made, as shown on the abstract of proposals for this site, herewith in. closed. (Inclosure No. 2.) This bid was made by Messrs. Charles H. Bliss & Co., of Washington, D. C., who proposed to construct an iron bridge similar and equal to the Anacostia Bridge in substructure and superstructure, to be 1,350 feet long, with substantial approaches of wood or iron on each side of the river, for the sum of $183,600.
The proposal was not accompanied by a bond, nor by any plans or specifications of the proposed bridge, and was therefore informal, and as its amount exceeded the appropriation of $140,000 made by Congress, it could not, in any event, be entertained.
For the site at or near the “ Three Sister” islands, about 3,100 feet above the Aqueduct Bridge, there were three bids, shown on the abstract of proposals at this site, herewith inclosed. (Inclosure No. 3.)
These three bids, with the prices nained, are as follows:
1. The Corrugated Metal Company, of East Berlin, Conn. : For the piers and abut. ments, $36,000; for the superstructure, $100,000; for embankments and approaches, $4,000'; total, $140,000.
2. The King Iron Bridge and Manufacturing Company, of Cleveland, Ohio: For the superstructure alone, $102,000.
3. Messrs. Charles H. Bliss & Co., of Washington, D. C. : For the entire bridge, $145,000.
The proposal of Charles H. Bliss & Co. was similar to their proposal for the Aqueduct Bridge, but as it was unaccompanied by either bond, plans, or specifications, and as it further exceeded the amount of the appropriation, it could not be considered.
The second proposal of the King Iron Bridge Company contemplates the erection of the superstructure alone, the general character of which is indicated on the abstract of proposals.
As no bid was submitted for piers or abutments this proposal could not be considered.
The proposal of the Corrugated Metal Company, of East Berlin, Conn., is the only one which, coming within the amount of the appropriation, provides at the same time for the construction of the entire bridge. I bave therefore taken sufficient time to examine carefully the plans and specifications submitted by this company, and to make inquiries as to the strength and durability of bridges which they have already erected.
As the specifications which they submitted for the masonry and superstructure were very brief and indefinite, it was also necessary to prepare detailed specifications, in order that the cbaracter of the work proposed might be fully understood, and the delay in reporting upon the proposals received has been due to these causes:
The following is a brief abstract of the proposition of the Corrugated Metal Company :
The general plan proposed is a parabolic truss bridge of wrought-iron with pin connections, with spans of from 150 to 300 feet, the last being across the main-river channel.
Foundations.—Three classes of foundation were proposed, all starting from solid rock: 1. Courses of large stone laid in the water with a der. rick, with the top concreted. 2. A timber crib filled vith grouted masonry, the outside being protected with riprap. 3. A foundation
built with a coffer-dam, the courses of masonry starting from the solid rock, after the rock has been leveled to receive them. This last foundation is clearly the only one admissible for this bridge. The class of masonry specified was coursed rock-faced masonry, of the stone quarried along the river, the courses to be from 18 to 36 inches high, with one-balf inch joints, the beds to be one and a half times the rise, vertical joints 12 inches deep, one-fourth headers, and with suitable backing. The pier heads were to be dressed, the stones doweled to. gether, and the whole laid with the best quality of cement mortar.
The width of the piers at the top, as proposed, was 6 feet for the shorter spans, and 7 feet on the 300 foot span, the height being but 24 feet above low-water, and the batter 1 in 12. The height should, however, be that of the centers of the trusses 45 feet above low-water, and the widths at this grade should be 7 feet for the 200-foot spans and 8 feet for the 300-foot span. With these, and some less important exceptions, the specifications for masonry, as modified, would probably meet the requirements of the work.
Superstructure.-For the wrougbt-iron superstructure of the bridge, full specifications were prepared covering the quality of iron, details of construction, workmanship, painting, &c., and the requirements in these particulars were substantially met by the bidders.
The capacity of the bridge and the corresponding unit strains on the iron, are, however, the most important and essential points to be considered.
Capacity.--For the live load on the bridge the Corrugated Metal Company proposed, for all the spans, 80 pounds per square foot on the road. ways and 60 pounds per square foot on the foot-walks, or an average of 73 pounds on the entire width. The live load sjecitied for the Anacostia Bridge and the Little Falls Bridge is 100 pounds per square foot.
Inasmuch as the free bridge may in the future be subjected to severe strains by droves of cattle, by the passage and crowding of large bodies of people visiting government reservations or witnessing regattas upon the river, or by the passage of troops and heavy ordnance in time of war, I am satisfied that the capacity or live load of the bridge should not be less than the Anacostia Bridge.
Strains on iron.—The principal strains which the bidders propose per square inch of iron, and also the specified strains on the Anacostia and Little Falls bridges, are shown in the following table:
The strains on wrought iron should not exceed 10,000 pounds per square inch in tension, 8,000 pounds in compression reduced by Gordon's formula), and 7,500 pounds in shearing. The strains proposed by the
Corrugated Metal Company considerably exceed these amounts, and are clearly inadınissible. The bidders subsequently proposed to decrease the load and decrease the unit strain, but this would not increase the strength of the bridge.
While a structure such as they propose for the amount of the appropriation might be admissible as a country bridge, subject to light traffic, it would not possess the requisite strength for such loads as the free bridge might be called upon to sustain; and it seems evident that a bridge of the proper strength cannot be built for the appropriation.
The proposal of the Corrugated Metal Company fails to meet the evi. dent requirements as to the capacity and strength of a bridge for this locality, and I would therefore respectfully recommend that this, together with all proposals received, be rejected. Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
S. T. ABERT,
United States Civil Engineer. The CHIEF OF ENGINEERS, U. S. A.
CONSTRUCTION OF FREE BRIDGE ACROSS POTOMAC RIVER, NEAR GEORGETOWN, D. C.
UNITED STATES ENGINEER OFFICE,
No. 1907 PENNSYLVANIA AVENUE,
Washington, D. C., September 14, 1881. Sealed proposals for the construction of a bridge across the Potomac River at “Three Sisters,” about 3,100 feet above the present Aqueduct Bridge at Georgetown, D. C., to include approaches and right of way for same, as provided for in the act of February 23, 1881, will be received at this office until 12 m. on Saturday, October 29, 1881, and opened immediately thereafter.
Also sealed proposals for the construction of same bridge on a section of the river about 500 feet above the said Aqueduct Bridge, under the provisions of the act above named, will be received and opened at the same time and place.
General specifications, containing a copy of the act of Congress of February 23, 1881, together with blank forms of proposals, can be obtained at this office. The right to reject any or all proposals is reserved.
S. T. ABERT,
United States Civil Engineer.
General specifications. 1. Locality.—The locality of the work is on the Potomac River, at or near Georgetown, in the District of Columbia. Georgetown is near the head of tide-water. It has good harbor and wharf accommodations, and can be reached at ordinary high-tide by vessels drawing 18 feet. Range of tide about 3 feet.
2. General description of bridge.—The bridge is to be built upon piers and abutments of masonry founded upon solid rock. The superstructure is to be of iron with plank roadway and foot ways. Its width is to be sufficient for a double roadway, with footways on each side.
Proposals for its construction at either of the two sites, as described below, are solicited.
3. Proposed site at “ Three Sisters."-At this section of the river (about 3,100 feet above Aqueduct Bridge) its width is about 1,050 feet, and the bottom is believed to be solid rock, or rock with a covering of a few feet only of sand and gravel.
Along the north bank, and 100 feet from it, runs the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal at an elevation of 38 feet above low-water of the river. The canal is 45 feet wide, and along its north bank there is a macadamized road 50 feet wide and 44.8 feet above low-water of the river.
The abutments are to be at the water's edge, and their faces will be about 1,050 feet apart. The bridge will be continued over the canal and road, where, at the north side of the road, it will terminate at a retaining abutment for embankment of approach. The distance between the faces of the larger and smaller north abutments will be about 200 feet.