By Thornton Parker
The way a problem is seen can determine how or even if it gets solved. When the French engineer, Ferdinand de Lesseps, was picked to build the Panama Canal, he saw it as another excavation problem as his Suez Canal had been. But Egypt was flat and Panama had a mountain.
When the United States took over the job, John Stevens, who was put in charge, saw it as a railroad problem. The biggest task was to move ninety-six million cubic yards of rock and earth, as fast as the fifteen giant steam shovels cut them out of the mountain, from the Pacific side of Panama to the Atlantic side for building a dam and raising a lake that would be part of the canal.Continue reading