Sunday, November 29, 2015

Comment to USCG reference New River Drawbridge Regulations.

The USCG asked for Comments to be considered during upcoming meeting.

Comments may be left until December 3rd at:

Here's the link to the Comment form
Here are my comments:

Agency: Coast Guard (USCG)
Document Type: Rulemaking
Title: Drawbridge Operation Regulation; New River, Fort Lauderdale, FL
Document ID: USCG-2015-0271-0010
The bridge being closed for 60 minutes will cause a back up of marine traffic in both direction.
The Rule should include a maximum period that the bridge can be closed to marine traffic. eg. the Maximum time the bridge may be closed to marine traffic is 15 minutes. This would help alleviate the back up of vessels waiting for the bridge to open.

There would still be an issue with vessels held up at the bridge forming a backup to the east and west, impacting the opening and closing for vessels at the Andrews Avenue Bridge, and the 7th street bridge and beyond in both directions.

The ambiguity in
2. The bridge tender will utilize a VHF-FM radio to communicate on channels 9 and 16 and may be contacted by telephone at 305-889-5572.
Should be removed.

Replace it with
2. The bridge tender will utilize a VHF-FM radio and telephone to communicate on channels 9 and 16 and Pone: 305-889-5572.

The ambiguity in:
6. When a train approaches, the lights go to flashing red and a horn starts four blasts, pauses, and then continues four blasts then the draw lowers and locks.
Should be removed, it does not clearly indicate the opening sequence nor does it specify the timing of the events.

Replace it with something that could be adhered too:
6. Within nn seconds of an approaching train, the lights go to flashing red and a horn starts four blasts, a pause of XX seconds followed by a 2nd set of four blasts, then after YY seconds and if the waterway is clear of passing vessels, then the draw lowers and locks.

My input on these articles does not endorse the concept of giving the railroad operations a free pass on how long they may obstruct a citizens right to use the waterways, they simply indicate the need to provide rules that will hold the railroad operators responsible for unreasonable delays to marine traffic.

Because marine traffic may be held up for a considerable time, the railroad should maintain signage that indicates where vessels may anchor in the New River adjacent to the Bridges (all of the bridges on the new river as a backup at the East Coast Railroad bridge will impact marine traffic at the other bridges on the New River.) Vessels cannot be stopped on the spot in the way that Road Traffic is held up when a Bridge opens for Marine traffic. Vessels are on a moving roadway! They only way they can remain safely on station awaiting a bridge opening for more than a few minutes is by dropping anchor or going along side.

Unlike the Intracoastal waterway, the New River traffic has to deal with multiple bridges within a short distance. Marine businesses and businesses that rely upon the New River Traffic will be impacted if the New River navigation inhibits use of the river. Many of the recreational vessels that use the river have to do so when the water depth permits. Adding more restrictions to navigation of the New River will result in many vessels moving out of the area, further impacting businesses on the New River. Visitors will be impacted by navigation restrictions as businesses that provide visitor services will be impacted.

Getting this bridge opening and closing management right is vital to the area residents, businesses and visitors.

This information will appear on

First Name: Paul
Last Name: Alcock

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