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ANNUAL REPORT

OP THE

SUPERINTENDENT OF PUBLIC WORKS.

OFFICE SUPERINTENDENT OF PUBLIC WORKS,

ALBANY, December 28, 1881.

To the Honorable the Legislature of the State of New York:

The Superintendent of Public Works in obedience to the require. ments of law submits his annual report for the fiscal year ending September 30, 1881. The expenditures of the department have been as follows:

ORDINARY REPAIRS AND OPERATING EXPENSES. By Superintendent of Public Works ...

$62, 679 05 By Assistant Superintendents of Public Works... 360, 736 01 By Snperintendents of Canal Repairs...

422, 425 77 Salaries of Superintendents of Canal Repairs.... 22, 029 13 Clerk hire and office expenses of Superintendent and Assistants ..

11, 893 20 Salaries and traveling expenses of Superintendent of Public Works and Assistants....

17, 561 16

Carried forward..

$897, 324 32

Brought forward.....

$897, 324 32

EXTRAORDINARY REPAIRS.
Champlain canal enlargement.....
Constructing dam across Moose river...
Enlarging and completing James street bridge at

Roine....
Repairing Erie breakwater, Buffalo.

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Total ...

$983, 189 29

As stated in the report of last year, the structures of the canals, especially the locks and bridges, had not received the attention during the past few years that was necessary to keep them in proper condition.

It was with great difficulty that several of the locks were operated during the closing weeks of the season of 1880, and some of them required to be double-manned and both locks filled at the same time. Combined locks 40, 41 and 42 on the Black River canal were rebuilt prior to the opening of navigation ; a water-wheel and the necessary machinery, for the purpose of aiding boats in entering the locks, were put into lock 52 last year, at which point there had been delay almost daily for many years. This operated so well that the same improvements were put in locks 47, 48, 49 and 51, thus prevent. ing delay at these locks and greatly relieving the animal power moving all east-bound through-boats.

The expenditures in rebuilding, repairing and improving this class of structures alone, was the sum of $68,180.18. The improvement was marked -- the locks were operated with much greater ease and rapidity and at a large saving of time.

Eighteen iron bridges were constructed at a cost of $35,824.91. A large number of new wooden bridges were also erected — a portion of these would have been constructed of iron, if the appropriation and receipts had permitted the expenditure. It is desirable that all high way bridges should be of that material.

The winter of 1880 and 1581 was long and severe, and owing to the great depth of frost, the period of spring repairs was very short. Several sections of the canal had never been excavated to a depth of seven feet and in many places the accumulations of sediment are very large. Rock to the amount of 3,600 cubic yards and sediment to the extent of 155,700 yards were removed during the twenty days

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preceding the opening, at a total cost of $36,470, as is shown by the reports of the superintendents of canal repairs.

Because of the short period during which repairs can be made, the sediment removed, and the cost of removing the same by manual labor, a much greater portion of the deposits should be removed by dredging, and with a view to economy in this work, a new dredge, believed to be the best ever in use on the canals, has been purchased and in operation since July 28.

Thirteen new repair boats, including one steam scow, have been constructed at a cost of $23,150.

In compliance with the provisions of chapter 258, Laws of 1880, improvements were made at several points on the Champlain canal, widening and deepening the prism and strengthening the banks, at & cost of $78,083.29. This has greatly facilitated navigation on that portion of the canals. It is pleasant to note the slight delay suffered from breaks, low water or sunken boats. It is believed that the past season is without parallel in this respect.

Work, estimated to cost about $800,000, recommended by the engineer department as necessary to put the canals in good order, and restore them to their original condition as when first enlarged, has not been done because of want of funds and time.

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TOLLS AND TONNAGE. The eastern portion of the canals was opened to navigation May 12, and the western division May 17. The opening was necessarily late owing to the great depth of frost in the banks, but was in ample time to receive the business of the lakes, upon which navigation commenced much later than usual.

The tolls and tonnage during the past seven seasons of navigation have been as follows:

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The tolls for the season as compared with that of 1880 have fallen off over 45 per cent, while the decrease in tonnage is only 20 per cent. This large decrease in receipts does not verify the predictions expressed to the Legislature and the Canal Board by the advocates of lower tolls when the same were under consideration by those bodies.

The average tonnage for the previous six years, 1875 to 1880, inclusive, was 5,163,233 tons; for 1881, 5,175,505 tons, showing the tonnage greater for the latter season than the average for the previous six years. The decrease in revenue is due in part to the abolition of tolls on west-bound freight, but in much larger measure to the lessened shipments of through cargoes of grain from Buffalo to the sea-board ; more than three-fourths of the decrease is justly chargeable to the latter cause. The shipments of grain and breadstuffs from Buffalo in 1880, were 71,909,964 bushels; in 1881, 31,151,761 bushels; the tolls on these shipments in 1880, were $700,199, in 1881, $290,444. The decrease in east-bound freight tonnage is owing to a lessened export demand; a smaller surplus of agricultural products in the west, and the competition of the railroads, which has been unparalleled.

The season has been a most disastrous one to boatmen.

The freights on east-bound merchandise have averaged lower this season than ever before in the history of the canals, as is shown by the following table. The next lowest rate was in 1876, when the freight on wheat from Buffalo to New York, less the toll, averaged for the season 4.65 cents per bushel.

DATE.

Freight,
Buffalo to
New York.

Tolls.

Freight, not includ.

ing tolls.

Lake freights.

m. f.

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C.

m. f.
16 8 4
14 6 7
15 6 9
13 3 2
11 2 2
10 3 5
12 6 2
11 5 4
10 1 1
9 1 1
8 0 1
7 2
6
6
7
6 3
5 9 9
5 2 6
6 9 6
6 1 5
6 5 0
6 0 0
4 8 8
4 7

C.

m. f.
6 2 1
4 8 2
6 2 1
4 8 2
3 1 0
3 0 0
3 1 0
3 0 0
3 1 0
3 0 0
2 0 7
1 9 3
2 0 7
1 9 3
1 0 3
096
1 03
0 96
1 03
0 9 6
1 0 3
0 9 6
1 0 3
0 96

C.

m. f. 10 6 3

9 8 4 11 4 8 8 5 0 8 1 2 7 3 5 9 5 2 8 5 4 7 0 1 6 1 1 5 9 4 5 3 0 4 6 5 4 1 6 6 3 6 5 4 2 4 9 6 4 3 0 5 9 3 5 1 9 5 4 7 5 0 4 3 8 5 3 4 1

C. 978 9 0 7 13 4 0 11 4 7 5 8 8 5 4 3 7 6 2 7 06 4 0 3 3 6 7 3 4 2 3 0 8 3 1 1 2 6 0 3 5 7 3 2 3 3 1 7 2 78 4 7 2 4 2 8 5 70 5 0 0 3 4 0 2 92

The freight rates on west-bound merchandise, owing to the small number of east-bound through cargoes, have averaged better than

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