Wednesday, April 18, 2012

T.E. Story #6

"Well, there isn't much to show, but we'll take a walk around," said Ian.  He got up from the table and indicated the trail down the slope to the water's edge.  "We'll start with the finished diversion piers and go on to the next set of plans.  Your log raft will be used to mark the end of the diversion pier with a tripod and a log crib filled with rocks."  They walked up the beach to the first of the diversion piers.  "I am not sure where the name Diversion Pier came from but actually the structure is not a pier at all but simply an extended pile of rocks.  Each pier extends out into the river at a shallow downstream angle for forty yards.  The purpose is, of course, to divert the river current toward the main channel.  This, in turn, causes the current to sweep out the mud and sand collected in the channel and deepen it.  The pier also collects sand and mud coming down the river and it collects behind the pier where it is much easier to get rid of than it would be out of the channel.  Each of the piers is approximately fifteen feet high and four feet of that extends above the water line.  This necessary, as in time the pier, will settle to some degree.  The structure of the pier is that the heavy boulders are on the bottom, and the medium sized boulder are on top.  We have indicated to the quarry upriver what our needs are and the rock that is sent down to us in barges has been pretty well sorted out.  We normally get three barge loads at a time.  The barges are now at the quarry.  Until they are filled and returned we will be using your logs to build the rock cribs and the tripod marking poles.  The marking tripod should be at least ten to fifteen Ft above the pier.  Each of the logs in the tripod will be sharpened on one end and driven into position directly in front of the log crib and then tied together at the top with a heavily tarred cable.  The detailed plans are in the tin box under the fly.  The materials are in the supply shed."

"The small pier is for the rock barge so the log raft will have to be broken up and the logs piled on the bank, so they can be cut and notched," Ian gestured towards the small floating wooden pier held in place with six upright poles.  "There are sixteen piers to be constructed and eight as you can see, are already finished.  As you begin  the piers the top will have to be smoothed with sand and sod, for the wheel barrows to move the rocks down to the end of the pier."

Ian turned walk back to the tent," there is a safe in the cook shack and there is $5,000 in gold and bills in the safe.  The procedure is to pay the workers every day after the work day is done.  They also get one meal and sleeping facilities.  We have facilities for 75 workers.  They are selected from the people who are here and who come around each day to see if anyone has left the job or has been fired.  The Pier Boss is under contract and so is Cookie.  The Lt. has been charged with knowing how everything works and has been in charge over the Pier Boss in laying the piers.  Both are good workers and both have agreed to your overseeing.  However, they may need some instruction in setting up the log cribs and the tripods..  There is a night watch on each of two piers, one at the downriver pier and at the upriver pier to warn any steamers away from the piers  they keep a small fire going all night to light oil torches from as needed.  The word about the construction here has been forwarded to all the steamer lines, I am told, but you and I know that such a notice is either often lost or more often ignored!  We have been moving along at a pretty fair rate of speed with a pier about every two weeks,  That will be extended now, of course, with the addition of the log cribs and tripods.  The pile driver for the tripods is presently moored up river at the quarry.  They are renewing the tackle for the main hammer,  It will have to be tested when you call for it to be brought down.  I would also consider building a second floating pier for the pile-driver to keep it out of the way of the rock barges.  Such a second pier is in the plans for the project as necessary.  The Quarry Boss is also under contract and he is doing good work.  He is the second man hired for the job.  I had to fire the first guy as he was simply not doing the job either right or well. The engineer will take care of the monthly reports that need to be sent to the Main office in St. Louis."  If I have forgotten anything, I am sure the young engineer can brief you on it.  I have discussed it with him briefly and  told him to review the plans and the contract to make sure he understands all the Ins and Outs of those documents.  Cookie is an independent cuss, but good at his job.  I have found that what he says is needed in the galley, is really what we need.  The pier boss knows the men who have stayed with us and is pretty good at managing the men in the work cycle, however, he isn't much on new ideas.  I will talk to him about any new ideas that you might have, and that he should go along with them."

Ian climbed up the trail to the survey tent and sat down on a bench, gesturing to Hezzie that he should do the same.  "Do you have any questions for me at this point?"

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