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Congress the funds were not available for the construction of the roads until the 16th of July, which has necessarily delayed the operations to a late period of the season for this northern latitude. Much progress, however, can be made before its close.
The several works now under my charge are as follows, viz:
1. Road from Point Douglas to the mouth of St Louis river. 2. Road from Point Douglas to Fort Ripley.
3. Road from Mendota to Wabashaw.
4. Road from Mendota to the mouth of Big Sioux river.
5. Road from the Falls of St. Anthony to Fort Ridgely.
6. Road from Fort Ripley, via Crow Wing river, to intersect the main road leading to the Red River of the North.
7. Road from Swan river to Long Prairie.
The authorized surveys and location of the above roads not having been completed, I beg leave to respectfully refer you to the general map of the roads accompanying the annual report of my predecessor in 1855 as approximately indicating their locations. So soon as the surveys now in progress shall be completed, an accurate map will be made and submitted.
1. Road from Point Douglas to the mouth of St. Louis river.
This road extends from Point Douglas, at the confluence of the river St. Croix with the Mississippi river, to the mouth of St. Louis river, at Superior, Wisconsin, being a distance of about 181 miles.
At the date of my last annual report the appropriations previously made for this road were exhausted and arrearages incurred amounting to $3,433 67. Under the appropriation of $31,425 50, made since then, the arrearages have been paid and some portions of the road between the 163d mile station and Superior have been constructed, including a bridge of 56 feet span over Pokegoma river, (near 185th mile station,) besides several culverts, side ditches, and other work most required on that section of the road. An examination of the road from Superior to Snake river has been recently made by Mr. P. E. Bradshaw, the assistant engineer in charge of that division, who reports, under date of the 4th ultimo, that "the road from Superior to Pokegoma river (distance 4 miles) is good, well graded, &c.; from Pokegoma river to Clear creek (distance about 12 miles) the road passes through an almost continuous tamarack swamp, between which points there are 6,100 feet of corduroying not covered with earth, and much of the swamp that is not even corduroyed or ditched. This part of the road (from Pokegoma river to Clear creek) is practically impassable, even at this the driest season of the year, excepting for foot or horseback passengers. A loaded wagon could not easily be drawn over the road. To render this part of the road passable, it should be ditched, corduroyed, and covered with earth nearly its entire length, (which has not been done, except in a very slight degree;) by these means a good road could be obtained. The tamarack swamps through the country vary in depth from one and a half to three feet, and have a good sand or clay bottom. On the distance above mentioned the timber is cut out full width and partly grubbed.
From Clear creek to Twin lakes (distance 4 miles) the road passes over a higher land, with but little swamp. Not much grading has been done here. The bridges are all in, and the timber is cut out fulwidth and grubbed. Three miles out from Superior a bridge 80 feet long, with bents twelve feet high, has been burnt. It will have to be reconstructed, in order to render the road passable for teams. From Twin lakes (169th mile station) to the 163d mile station the road has been cut out full width and partially grubbed."
The work required in the construction of the road from the 163d mile station to a point one mile south of Deer creek (distance about 46 miles) the assistant engineer reports to be as follows: A bridge of about 60 or 70 feet span over Black Hoof river, (near 163d mile station;) from 163d mile station to Portage river, about three miles of corduroying; also a bridge of 70 feet span over Portage river; between Portage and Willow rivers about three miles require to be corduroyed and ditched; between Willow and Kettle rivers about 11 mile of the road requires to be corduroyed and ditched; the rest of this portion passes through high and dry pine barrens. The bridge over Kettle river (near 132d mile station) is defective in one of its lower chords, and needs repairs. Between Kettle river and Deer creek about one mile of the road requires to be corduroyed and ditched. Deer creek requires a bridge of 40 to 50 feet span. From Deer creek to Grindstone creek (distance four miles) the road has been cut out full width, with the exception of about of a mile south of Deer creek; on this part of the road there is a little corduroying which requires covering with earth. Grindstone creek requires a bridge of 75 feet span, at least. From Grindstone creek to Snake river (distance 13 miles) the road has been cut out full width, grubbed, corduroyed, and ditched, so as to be in pretty good condition. The bridge over Snake river is broken into two parts, nearly at its middle; one part of it now rests one end on its abutment and the other end on the bottom of the river; the other part has floated about 30 rods down stream, and lodged on the head of an island. This bridge has a span of 174 feet in the clear, and was finished in January, 1856, under the superintendency of my predecessor.
From Snake river to Point Douglas (distance about 94 miles) the road has been constructed throughout, with the exception of that portion lying between Point Douglas and the 19th mile station, on which no work has yet been expended.
The authorized survey of this road is now being made, and its location has already been much improved between Deer creek and Kettle river bridge, and is likewise being improved between Kettle river bridge and the 163d mile station. No work whatever, except the bridge over Kettle river, has been expended on the road between Deer creek and mile station 163.
From mile station 103 to Superior the road is under contract for its construction with Mr. John D. Ludden, of Stillwater, from the 103d to the 144th mile station, and with Mr. Orrin W. Rice, of Superior, from the 144th mile station to Superior. The amount of the appropriation available for that portion of the road will be sufficient for and applied to cutting and grubbing it out to a width of 18 feet, and
to the construction of culverts, side ditches, corduroying, bridges, and other work most required between Deer creek and mile station 163.
Proposals are invited for constructing the section lying between Point Douglas and the 19th mile station, which, together with the repairs of the bridge over Kettle river, will also be done under the existing appropriation.
It is therefore hoped that the road will be opened throughout its whole extent, and made available for winter travel the coming season. It will, however, require much additional labor to render it practicable in all weather and in all seasons of the year.
The importance of this road to Minnesota and Wisconsin, in facilitating the development of their resources and in hastening the occupation of the valuable government lands in the northwest, cannot be too strongly represented, connecting, as it does, by the shortest route, the head of navigation of the Mississippi river with Lake Superior at its nearest practicable harbor.
I have therefore to recommend that an additional appropriation be made for its immediate completion, the amount required being exhibited in the following estimate:
1. From Superior to "Twin Lakes," 21 miles.
1. Bridges, five; total length, 140 feet, including the rebuilding of the burnt trestle bridge, 80 feet in length, (3 miles out from Superior,) at $10 per lineal foot...
2. Corduroying 1,600 rods, at $2 70 per rod..
3. Earthwork, (including side ditching, &c., &c.,) 25,560 cubic
2. From Twin Lakes to Grindstone creek, 54 miles.
1. Bridges, five, (of spans from 55 to 75 feet;) total length, 325 feet, at $15 per lineal foot..
2. Corduroying 1,000 rods, at $2 70 per rod....
3. Earthwork, (including side ditching, &c., &c.,) 7,000 cubic yards, at 26 cents per yard
4. Cutting down trees 24 feet each side of centre strip so as to open the whole roadway to a width of 66 feet, being 270 acres, at $40 per acre
5. Rebuilding (on plan of Howe's patent truss) the bridge across Snake river, 186 feet long, at $40 per lineal foot, being contractor's price for same).
For enginering and office expenses and other contingencies, add 10 per cent. of the above.
44, 179 74 44,200 00
In my last annual report it was supposed that, from Superior out to Twin lakes, (a distance of 21 miles,) the road had been completed with the exception of a bridge required over Pokegoma river, as reported to me by my predecessor on turning over to me the charge of the work in June, 1856. The estimates therein; ubmitted were moreover based on the maps, reports, and estimates then on file in this office, whereas the above estimates are based on more reliable surveys and
reports, since then made, combined with the reports and estimates of last year. The prices are the average of those paid under previous contracts for similar work on this road.
2. Road from Point Douglas to Fort Ripley
This road extends from Point Douglas up the valley of the Mississippi river, 144 miles, to Fort Ripley.
At the date of my last annual report, the appropriations previously made for this road were exhausted.
A survey of the road has just been completed, from which it appears that a portion of it, in extent about 12 miles, between Point Douglas and St. Paul, is yet to be constructed; the bridge over Rum river, at Anoka, to be repaired; and the road in several places to be graded and constructed.
I have advertised for proposals for the construction of the unfinished portion of the road between Point Douglas and St. Paul, to be completed on or before the first of December next; the bridge at Anoka will be soon repaired; and the road in other places where required will be constructed as soon as practicable. The appropriation of $4,695, made for this road by Congress at its last session, is sufficient for its completion.
3. Road from Mendota to Wabashaw.
This road extends from Mendota, (opposite Fort Snelling,) at the confluence of the Minnesota and Mississippi rivers, to Wabashaw, on the right bank of the Mississippi river 2 miles below Lake Pepin, a distance of 76 miles.
In my last annual report this road was reported as finished, with the exception of the repairs of the bridge over Cannon river, (near Red Wing,) the cost of which I estimated at $3,000. The appropriation made therefor was $2,000.
After advertising for proposals for its repairs, the commissioners of Goodhue county, (the county in which it is located,) rather than lose the benefit of the appropriation, insufficient as it is for the purpose, contracted to complete the work on or before the 1st of November
4. Road from Mendota to mouth of Big Sioux river.
This road extends from Mendota, opposite Fort Snelling, southwestwardly through Minnesota and Iowa to the mouth of Big Sioux river, a distance of 279 miles, as originally located in 1853.
At the date of my last annual report this road was more or less constructed from Mendota to the 178th mile station, (measured from the mouth of Big Sioux river,) with the exception of the three "middle sections," so called, which extended from the 217th to the 235th mile station.
The appropriation had been nearly exhausted on the road between Mendota and the 178th mile station, except on the "middle sections,'
previous to my entering upon the duties of this station; but in order to extend the benefits of the small available balance over as much of the road as practicable, as instructed, it was applied to the three sections named. I contracted with Mr. Thomas J. Frazier, of St. Paul, for the construction of the 1st and 2d "middle sections," which he completed on the 3d of November, 1856. Mr. Benjamin Parker, of St. Anthony, also completed his contract for the construction of the 3d "middle section" on the 7th of October, 1856. The amount thus expended, however, was only sufficient to make that portion of the road barely practicable, by the construction of such bridges, culverts, corduroying, &c., as were most necessary. It is not, however, now recommended to expend any more labor upon the road between Mendota and the 178th mile station, with the exception of the completion of some corduroying near Mankato.
The road is now being surveyed to the extent that it has been constructed, on the completion of which the small balance of the appropriation now on hand will be exhausted. An additional appropriation will therefore be required for the construction and completion of the road from 178th mile station to the mouth of Big Sioux river, being a distance of 178 miles, for which I submit the following estimates, based on Captain Reno's survey and estimates made in 1853. Experience on this and other roads in this Territory having conclusively proved that his estimates for earth work and bridges are much below contract prices, I have so modified his estimates as to make them correspond with the rates heretofore paid, taking into consideration at the same time, the greater inaccessibleness of the country and the great scarcity of timber.
His estimates for grubbing, clearing, and smoothing off
road bed, corduroying and culverts, are adopted, being $1,286 00 For 55,000 cubic yards of earth work, (including ditching, excavation, and embankment, and the necessary amount of haul,) at a probable cost of 25 cents per cubic yard... For 59 bridges, having spans from 12 feet to 134 feet in length..... Add ten per cent. for contingencies, including engineering and office expenses, &c., &c., &c........
... 17,505 00
Total amount required for completing the road...... 35,795 00
5. Road from the Falls of St. Anthony to Fort Ridgely. This road extends from Minneapolis, at the Falls of St. Anthony, via Carver and Henderson, to Fort Ridgely, a distance of 95 miles.
It having been determined by the department, as by instructions received on the 14th of July, to apply the appropriation to this territorial road via Henderson, in preference to the other proposed routes, contracts were at once made for cutting out the timber on this road with Mr. A. C. Smith, of Minneapolis, for the "St. Anthony section,” extending from Minneapolis to the eastern boundary of Sibley county, Vol. ii-23