The labors of the Inland Waterways Commission have resulted in the proposal to construct a vast system of improvements, which, because of recent public utterances upon the subject, is pretty certain to receive the indorsement of those interested in the improvement of our inland waterways. An effort will be made to secure from the coming Congress the necessary legislation for making a beginning of the work. The Commission recommends the construction of a network of canals, river improvements, and channel deepening, which will unite the great lakes with the rivers of the Mississippi Valley; and that will connect these rivers with each other. This will secure unbroken water connection from Hudson Bay to the Gulf. It is proposed to connect the mouth of the Mississippi by the "western inner passage" with all the ports on the Texas coast, and with the Rio Grande. Connection is also to be made of the Mississippi with Mobile Bay by the "eastern inner passage," and with the Atlantic seaboard by way of the Suwanee River and a canal across Florida. Another part of the scheme contemplates the connection of Delaware Bay with Chesapeake Bay to the south, by improving the present Delaware and Maryland canal; and with Raritan Bay to the north by cutting a canal across New Jersey. Finally, it is proposed to cut through the Isthmus of Cape Cod, and provide a direct route from Long Island Sound into Massachusetts Bay. and Boston harbor. The plan includes the improvement of the lower and upper Mississippi; of the Red River of the Norththis last in conjunction with a canal into Canada and to Hudson Bay; the improvement of the Illinois; of the Ohio to Pittsburg and the Monongahela above Pitts-burg; of the Cumberland and Tennessee into Alabama; and of the Arkansas and Red River to Texas. It is not proposed to execute the whole of this vast work at once. Some of the Commission are in favor of a bond issue large enough to furnish funds for starting the work; and they are of the opinion that, although the total cost will be enormous, the scheme must inevitably pay its own way as traffic develops.
This article was originally published with the title "Comprehensive Scheme for National Water-Ways" in Scientific American 97, 24, 438 (December 1907)