The Panama Canal was the subject of an unusually large meeting of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. The meeting, which editors described in the March 9, 1905, issue, included an address by Worcester R. Warner. He had recently visited Panama with a Congressionally appointed committee.
Warner was in favor of ditching plans for a canal with locks for a sea-level canal. His main reason for opposing the locks? Cost.
Another speaker, Professor Burr of Columbia College and member of the Panama Canal Commission, agreed with Warner. He thought that plans could be changed without exceeding the project's original cost estimate. He told the group that the cost of excavating a canal would only be about 40 or 50 cents per cubic yard.