The Longest Shortcut

.. cyclopedia Britannica) They are as three times as all as the Statue of liberty. The gates weigh 700 tons and the chambers have 10 ton culverts to let the water in and out. Fifteen hundred motors are used to open and close the gates. All of the electricity is generated by the from the Damn on the Chagres.

Cable cars pull ships through the locks using this same power source. Table 1 Construction Timeline 1534 1870 1889 1903 1905 1906 1907-1914 The Spanish first propose a survey of panama for canal purposes The French begin to build/dig the panama canal The French Pull out of Panama because of financial reasons The U.S signs a treat giving them rights to build The united States starts out with failures John Wallace Quits John Stevens takes over and has much success, but quits mysteriously George Goethals takes over and completes the canal Section Three The first and most important construction is a safe and livable place for the workers of the Panama Canal. The most important part of this is the elimination of Yellow Fever. Dr. William Gorgous knows that Stegomyia fasciata, an adult female (McCullough 429) is the cause of yellow fever.

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John Wallace denies Dr. Gorgous the money to take the necessary measures to eliminate Yellow Fever. Even though the technology existed there is no money at this point to solve the problem. When John Stevens takes charge he allocates the money to clean up the Yellow Fever problem. In A Man, A Plan, A Canal, Panama it is stated that swamps are drained, housing is fumigated, bush is cleared, oil is sprayed, and one hundred and twenty tons of pesticide is purchased.

The removal of the dirt is a large problem for the construction of the canal. When the canal was finished approximately 262,000,000 cubic yards of dirt and were removed. Stevens had no intention of making the canal sea level. To remove that much greater amount of dirt would be a nearly impossible task. Thousands of large Steam shovels were worked around the clock. Stevens built a system of railroads to remove the dirt being dug by mostly by these steam shovels. This kept the steam shovels working at all times without having to wait for the soil to be removed. The tracks were often moved with the use of people and a machine developed solely for the task. The flat open train cars were emptied by the use of a large wedge powered by the locomotive engine. This allowed the freight cars to be unloaded swiftly. To build Gatun Lake the workers need to damn the Chagres.

Much of the railroaded dirt was dumped in this area to damn the river. Even with this efficient system of dirt removal there was significant problem of landslides. The angle of repose was never achieved in the entire canal and there are landslides even today. These landslides buried lots of equipment and slowed progress. United States uncovered a lot of French equipment including steam shovels and tug boats. Because of the terrain it was not always so simple to just dig with the use of steam shovels dynamite had to be used.

Construction of the canal would consume more than 61,000,000 pounds of dynamite, a greater amount of explosive energy than had been expended in all the nations wars until that time. (McCullough 545) Dynamite was often drilled into the rocks to help excavate areas. Because of panamas climate the dynamite would often become unstable and explode prematurely. An enormous amount of concrete was required to build the lock chambers. Over two million cubic yards of concrete was used. The walls and floors of the chambers were all concrete some areas as much as twenty three feet thick.

A large concrete mixing plant was constructed. Barges had to bring the vast concrete material to the mixing plant. A circular cableway was set up on 85 foot towers. The buckets of concrete where brought to the cableway by train. The six ton buckets moved at speeds of 20 mile per hour.

The forms from the concrete had to be moved upward as soon as the concrete dried. Huge cranes were needed to lift the huge thirty six foot sections. Fifty companies in the United States are contracted to build all the pieces of the locks and are pieced together upon arrival. Section Four In 1914 the Panama Canal is complete ahead of schedule and under budget. A commission was formed to determine whether improvements need to be made. No improvements where suggested, they thought that the canal looked just fine the way it was. The electric trains that pull the ships have only been upgraded twice.

A traffic control tower was also added to manage traffic. The final total estimated cost in todays money is 7 billion dollars to complete the canal. The United States was able to recover seventy percent of their money through the collection of tolls. McCullough states that the largest toll being $42,077.88 coming from the Queen Elizabeth II. According to McCullough the smallest toll is 36 cents coming from Richard Hallibuton who swam the canal.

The canal wasnt used too much at first because of World War I. After that the amount of ships steadily increased. In 1919 5 years after the completion of the canal an American Naval Armada sailed through the canal. In 1924 a British battleship squeezed through the canal followed by two American aircraft carriers. By 1939 annual traffic exceeded seven thousand ships. (McCullough 612) Traffic steadily increased after World War II and lights were installed to permit night travel. In the late seventies United States gave more control to Panama over the canal. In 1977 a treaty was signed giving the canal over to panama at the end of the century. In 1999 in accordance to the treaty oversight of the canal was given to the Panamanian Government. However United States still has power to act if any threat dangers the canal.

One negative impact to the construction of the Panama Canal is the loss of human life that occurred during the construction. According to the A Man, A Plan, A Canal, Panama video 5609 people died during the construction. Because of the unsafe nature of the project and the geographic location this occurred. People died from landslides, Yellow Fever, unstable dynamite, heat stroke, and being crushed by equipment. Another impact was the exploitation of labor. The large majority ninety percent of the work force was from the Caribbean and West Indies. There were separate and not equal conditions between white and black workers. Black workers had worse housing conditions and where not segregated from all white activities.

They were even paid in silver when all the white workers were paid in gold. The black workers were paid 10 cents an hour, and worked ten hours a day six days a week. The double standards resulted in a lot of suffering of the less paid black laborers. About 4500 of the 5609 workers that died were black. Bibliography Works Cited The American President 18 Oct.

2000 Britanica Encyclopedia 21 Oct. 2000 Kiger, Patrick. Discovery Channel 16 Oct. 2000 Knapp, Herbert and Mary. Red, White, and Blue Paradise. New York: Hartcourt Brace Joanovich, 1984.

A Man, A Plan, A Canal, Panama. Nova. 1987. McCullough, David. The Path Between The Seas.

New York: Simon and Schuster, 1977. Panama Canal Authority 16 Oct. 2000 Panama Canal. A&E Home Video. 1994. Technology.