Integrating An Inland Waterways System with Roadways (Goa)

Since we face heavy traffic every day, the waterways could be integrated with the existing road transport network. This system would greatly benefit the tourists and the locals. The various phases of the project are: 1. Documentation of existing river transport facilities. 2. Proposal for an overall inland waterway network. Suggesting new routes to add […]


Author’s Note:   This is a creative enterprise system that integrates an inland waterways system with other transport systems in solving the dilemma of fast-growing populations in the Third World. But is this practical, useful and low cost over enough years to justify the upfront costs.  Especially, when engineering fees and other soft costs grow at exponential rates. Generally unaccounted for in government projects, professionals may be required to provide professional errors and omissions policies.  How large will the premiums on such policies be to cover the unknown risks and damages of new, untested systems that may be faulty or defective in the public sector?



Watermelon Feast on East Coast Canal (Under Construction) at Boynton Beach, Fla. In 1914


By November 1912, according to the terms and conditions of the Settlement Agreement made in 1906, the last of twelve deeds had been delivered by the State of Florida Trustees of the Internal Improvement Fund (the State Cabinet) to the Florida canal company conveying in the aggregate more than one million acres of prime east coast land for dredging 268 miles of Intracoastal Waterway from Jacksonville to Miami.

Under the 1906 agreement, state legislators had given the canal company more time to finish the waterway and more state land if the canal company dredged an additional 30 miles north of St. Augustine to Jacksonville. In 1914, many stretches of the waterway had not been completed to state specifications. The state had required a canal five feet deep and fifty feet wide. In many cases, embankments as in this photograph slid back into the water, requiring remedial work.

At the same time, shippers, business and trade associations complained that the State should not have given the last of the twelve deeds for work that had not been completed or completed incorrectly. The photograph plainly shows a deficiency of retaining walls or their equivalent to keep dredged material from sliding back into the canal by 1914.  Unfortunately, the State’s original specifications called for “maintenance” of completed work to be paid for out of toll money collected but little else in specifying precisely how the waterways were to be maintained.  

Courtesy, Boynton Beach Historical Society/Janet DeVries.

Corthell’s 1889 Estimate of the Cost to Complete the Florida East Coast Canal


In 1888, Florida canal company general manager George F. Miles engaged acclaimed Chicago waterway and railway engineer Elmer Corthell to survey the soil, rock, sand, and other material the Company dredges would likely encounter in completing the waterway and to estimate the cost of completion.

In turn, Corthell employed a former Army engineer, Artur [sic] Wrotnowski, to perform the actual on-the-ground measurements between bodies of water, their depths, and distances, with calculations of how much material the Florida canal company would have to move to comply with state requirements. Corthell reviewed Wrotnowski’s survey in detail and reported to the directors of the Florida canal company the amount of material to be moved and the cost to complete the waterway.

Corthell also considered mounting marine vessels on railway cars to transit difficult-to-dredge dry land between waterways but rejected the railway alternative as too expensive to maintain. In conclusion, Corthell endorsed the project on a ‘pay as you go’ basis, starting with minimum depths now, using the waterway to generate revenue to dredge a deeper and wider waterway later.  Withal, Corthell thought the Florida East Coast economy robust, more than enough to justify his estimated cost to complete of a little over $1 million in  1889 ($26 million in historic standard-of-living dollars today, 2014). Courtesy, Brown University, Hay Library, Providence, Rhode Island.

Sketch of Lake Boca Raton, Florida (1889)


Sketch of survey of Lake Boca Raton, Boca Raton, Florida, made by Arthur Wrotnowski, Civil Engineer, for a Report on the Florida East Coast Canal (Intracoastal Waterway) from Jacksonville to Miami, Florida in 1889 by Elmer Corthell of Chicago, Illinois. The report was undertaken to encourage New England investors like Bradley and Albert P. Sawyer of Newburyport, Mass. To invest in the waterway’s dredging. Courtesy, Hay Library, Brown University, Providence, R.I.</

Dr. John Westcott (1807-1889), president of the Florida canal company

Dr. John Westcott  (1807-1889), president of the Florida canal company

Dr. John Diament Westcott (1807-1889) served as president of the Florida canal company from 1881 until his death in 1889. Born in New Jersey, Westcott briefly attended West Point before leaving for medical reasons. For a time, he also attended medical school in Philadelphia before relocating to the Territory of Florida, serving as secretary to his older brother, James Westcott, the Territory’s first Secretary of State. Westcott soon became proficient in medicine, chemistry, mineralogy, and surveying. As a surveyor, Westcott became Surveyor General in charge of surveying the federal lands of the new State of Florida in 1850. Westcott’s knowledge of public lands along the East Coast of Florida when he later became president of the Florida canal company would prove useful in selecting choice state lands for the dredging work his company was to perform in the years ahead. Courtesy, Museum of the Confederacy, Richmond, Va.

Even Whiskers loves the book, Florida’s Big Dig


In this first comprehensive study of the Florida section of the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway, I trace the roots of the waterway all the way back to the Founding Fathers, through the history of the Canal Era and its difficult path in Congress and in Florida’s young legislature as one of the early public-private partnerships, drawing upon early records and land deeds, and tracking the history of the men who made it a reality.