Divide Cut

To connect the waters of the Tennessee River with those of the Tombigbee, a channel 29 miles long had to be cut across the terrain dividing the two watersheds.

Key Facts

  • Cutting the channel is one of the largest earth-moving projects in history, requiring 10 years of work at a cost of nearly $500 million.
  • A total of 150 million cubic yards of earth had to be removed, about 1.5 times as much as for the Suez Canal.
  • The breadth of the cut at the top is nearly ½ mile, and the average depth of excavation was 50 feet.
  • The soil removed was deposited and landscaped into the valleys along the canal, solving one of the most potentially serious problems in constructing the waterway.
  • The canal formed by the cut is 29 miles long and 280 feet wide with an average depth of 12 feet.