October 2015 Section A
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Information from COE
RECENT ANNOUNCEMENTS on OKECHOBEE WATERWAY & LOCKS. Keep checking at www.saj.usace.army.mil
Information from FWC
Notes on Fishing Rules and other announcements
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (a/k/a FWC) keeps us up to date on changes that fishermen (cruising-fishermen included) should know, and other items of interest to boating people. As the audience is somewhat varied, we give a quick note on the news and suggest that those interested in specific topics check it all out at the FWC web site.
There's also information on boating, parks, ramps, etc., etc. and we'll hope to include news on anything we think you'll want to know about.
FWC's web site is www.MyFWC.com
In our phone call to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Lake Okeechobee Clewiston office, we've been assured that the locks are back to normal operations, thanks to recent rainfall. http://www.saj.usace.army.mil/Missions/CivilWorks/Navigation/NoticestoNavigation.aspx
REPEATING IN OCTOBER
All Aboard Florida (private investment group's plan to run 32 trains a day from Orlando to Miami causing more bridge closures on the St. Lucie, Loxahatchee and New Rivers) continues to be unsettled at our Press Time.
For up-to-date information on both of the above situations we suggest watching Florida news and checking websites listed for Boat Owners Association of the United States (BoatUS.com) FWC (myfwc.com) and this monthly website update, where press releases appear as received.
FWC TAKES NEXT STEP IN AMENDING BOATING RULES FOR SUWANNEE AND SANTA FE RIVERS
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), at its Sept. 3 meeting in Fort Lauderdale, approved draft revisions affecting boating-restricted areas on the Suwannee and Santa Fe rivers so the agency can take the next step in finalizing them.
The amendment to Florida Administrative Code 68D-24.020 would remove flood zone restrictions on two remote stretches of the lower Suwannee River, divide the Santa Fe River into four independent flood zones, incorporate changes to federal gauge datum and update maps to reflect changes in the restricted areas.
The change would deregulate approximately 10 miles of remote, uninhabited stretches of the lower Suwannee River, normally a boating-restricted area activated during high-water events. It is expected to improve the boating experience while maintaining safety in the area.
After receiving requests to reconsider the current regulation, FWC staff held three public meetings prior to the Commission meeting and received significant public support for the proposed changes.
Staff will now file a Notice of Proposed Rule and hold a final public hearing in November 2015, if such a hearing is requested.
FROM CAPT. JOHN YEAGER
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION ON HILLSBORO INLET BRIDGE REPAIRS
PARTIALLY REPEATING IN AUGUST & SEPTEMBER from MARCH UPDATE.
FLORIDA – EAST COAST - HILLSBORO INLET: Bridge Repairs. PCL Civil Constructors, Inc. has advised the Coast Guard that they will start work on the repairs to the Hillsboro Inlet Bridge on January 5, 2015. This project is anticipated to be completed by November 14, 2015. There will be various bridge restrictions and closures throughout this project. The contractor will be working closely with the marine interests to ensure impacts to navigation will be at a minimum.
Mariners may request an opening during these time periods by providing a four-hour advance notice to the bridge tender or by calling (954) 943-1847. The vertical clearance will be reduced by 2 feet during the entire project length. The north and south side channels will be closed to navigation during this entire time frame as there will be turbidity barriers in place and a small barge will be behind the fender system. the roadway will be closed to the vehicle traffic completely for 19 days in addition ... to the above two weeks two ??? four hours closure periods. The Florida Department of Transportation will be issuing a separate press release on this restriction. Ref: LNM 07-14 through 20-15 CG File: 3014 Chart 11.
News from USCG - BRIDGE NOTICES:
We attempt to include here only notices regarding serious bridge operating schedules. We have discontinued listing temporary changes that draw attention to semi-serious delays such as (most) painting projects, marathons, charity runs, single-leaf operations, etc.
An exception to the above may be made because of seasonal traffic and items previously included may be kept with updates.
REPEATING IN OCTOBER
FLORIDA – ATLANTIC INTRACOASTAL WATERWAY – PALM SHORES TO WEST PALM BEACH – FLAGLER MEMORIAL/ROYAL PARK/SOUTHERN BOULEVARD BRIDGES: Bridge Construction/Waterway Restriction/Temporary Bridge Regulation Changes/Update.
The Florida Department of Transportation has advised that the Flagler Memorial Bridge will be placed in the open to navigation position for a six month period. Mariners are reminded that the horizontal clearance at the Flagler Memorial Bridge is currently set at 70 feet and will remain until the new bridge is built and this bridge is removed.
The Florida Department of Transportation has requested that the Flagler Memorial Bridge be placed on a restricted opening schedule until the new Flagler Memorial Bridge construction can be completed.
Mariners are reminded that the horizontal clearance at the Flagler Memorial Bridge is currently set at 70 feet and will remain until the new bridge is built and this bridge is removed.
The Flagler Memorial Bridge opening schedule has been changed to once an hour on the quarter-hour. In addition to the once an hour schedule, the Flagler Memorial Bridge will be allowed to not open at 8:15 a.m. and at 4:15. p.m. Monday through Friday except Federal holidays to allow for rush hour traffic. The bridge will be allowed to remain closed to navigation with no exemptions except for emergencies. The Royal Park and Southern Blvd Bridges will return to their normal operating schedules per 33 CFR 117.261:
(v) Royal Park (SR 704) bridge, mile 1022.6, at Palm Beach. The draw shall open on the hour and half-hour.
(w) Southern Boulevard (SR 700/80) bridge, mile 1024.7 at Palm Beach. The draw shall open on the quarter and three-quarter hour.
While the new Flagler Memorial Bridge is under construction, the following emergency plan will remain in effect with no exceptions except for emergencies:
If an emergency occurs and the Flagler Memorial Bridge is left in the open to navigation position, all vehicle traffic will be detoured to the bridges to the south. For this reason, the Royal Park Bridge will be on an hourly schedule at the quarter-hour, except that from 8:16 a.m. to 10:14 a.m. and from 4:16 p.m. to 6:14 p.m. this bridge will be allowed to remain closed to navigation. The Southern Boulevard Bridge will remain on the twice an hour schedule (top of the hour and bottom of the hour), except that from 8:31 a.m. to 9:59 a.m. and from 4:31 p.m. to 5:59 p.m. this bridge will be allowed to remain closed to navigation.
Ref: LNM 45-12 through 50-14 Chart: 11472
The following information provided by our editors is again included in the Gold Coast Cruising section of the new 15/16 print edition:
PALM BEACH AREA BRIDGES
Usual opening schedules are listed on Chart 8, however, delayed construction on Flagler Bridge may cause further changes and once-an-hour openings are likely. Contact bridges on CH 9.
CHANGED FOR MAY - REPEATING IN OCTOBER
FLORIDA – ATLANTIC INTRACOASTAL WATERWAY –WEST PALM BEACH TO MIAMI – NEW RIVER – FEC RAILROAD BRIDGE: Test Deviation.
The following information has been extracted from the Test Deviation, please view www.regulations.gov USCG-2015-0271 for the complete text.
The Coast Guard is issuing a temporary deviation from the operating schedule that governs the Florida East Coast Railway (FEC) Railroad Bridge across the New River, mile 2.5, at Fort Lauderdale, FL. This test deviation is from April 19 through 6:00 a.m. on October 16, 2015.
During the test deviation period, the draw of the FEC Railroad bridge across the New River, mile 2.5, at Fort Lauderdale, FL, will operate as follows:
The bridge is constantly tended.
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.
Signage will be posted displaying VHF radio contact information and the bridge tender and dispatch telephone number. A countdown clock for bridge closure shall be posted at the bridge site and visible for maritime traffic.
A bridge log will be maintained including, at a minimum, bridge opening and closing times.
(e) When the draw is in the fully open position, green lights will be displayed to indicate that vessels may pass.
(f) 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.
(g) After the train has cleared the bridge, the draw opens and the lights return to green.
(h) The bridge shall not be closed more than 60 minutes combined for any 120 minute time period beginning at 12:01 a.m.
REPEATING IN OCTOBER
FLORIDA – ATLANTIC INTRACOASTAL WATERWAY – WEST PALM BEACH TO MIAMI – MIAMI – BROAD CAUSEWAY BRIDGE:
The Broad Causeway Bridge across the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway, Miami, Florida is on singe-leaf operations at the quarter-hour and three-quarter hour until further notice. A double-leaf opening is available if two hours advance notice is provided to the bridge tender at 305-891-2221. This bridge provides a horizontal clearance of 33 feet with one leaf in the closed position.
M&J Construction has advised the Coast Guard that starting January 12, 2015, they have begun repairing the Broad Causeway Bridge. In order to complete these repairs, the Coast Guard has agreed to allow this bridge to operate on single-leaf operations with a four hour notice for a double-leaf opening to the bridge tender. Mariners are advised that during this 480 day operation, M&J Construction will be requesting permission to block the navigation channel at night to install the fender system under the bridge. This nighttime work will minimize disruptions to marine traffic. The start of this operation will be published in a future Local Notice to Mariners.
Ref: LNM 13 through 50-14 Chart: 11467
CHANGED FOR JUNE, REPEATED IN OCTOBER
FLORIDA – MIAMI ENTRANCE CHANNEL – MIAMI BEACH CHANNEL – EAST VENETIAN BRIDGE:
Temporary Final Rule. The East Venetian Bridge is closed to navigation until further notice. The Coast Guard has been advised that the planned 9 month operation to repair the West Venetian Bridge approaches has been delayed until June 1, 2015; the West Venetian Bridge will remain open to all marine traffic and the East Venetian Bridge in the closed to navigation position. REF: LNM 39-14 through 20-25 and Docket Number USCG-2014-0719 Chart: 11467.
CHANGED FOR JUNE, REPEATING IN OCTOBER
FLORIDA – MIAMI TO MARATHON AND FLORIDA BAY – HAWK CHANNEL – SNAKE CREEK BRIDGE: Test Deviation.
The Coast Guard is temporarily changing the regulations governing the Snake Creek Bridge across Snake Creek, Islamorada, Florida. From 8:00 a.m. on March 16, 2015 until 6:00 p.m. on July 14, 2015, the Snake Creek Bridge will be allowed to open on signal, except that from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. this bridge will open at the top of the hour, seven days-a-week.
Additional Information: Tuesday, July 14 - test deviation ends, last day for public meeting request (120 days from test deviation beginning.); Monday, September 14 - Comment period ends. (180 days from test deviation beginning.) If you would like to comment on this test deviation, please use one of the following methods If you submit a comment, please include the docket number for this rulemaking (USCG-2015-0046), indicate the specific section of this document to which each comment applies, and provide a reason for each suggestion or recommendation. You may submit your comments and materials online (http://www.regulations.gov), or by fax, mail or hand delivery, but please use only one of these means. If you submit a comment online via http://www.regulations.gov it will be considered received by the Coast Guard when you successfully transmit the comment. If you fax, hand deliver or mail your comment, it will be considered as having been received by the Coast Guard when it is received at the Docket Management Facility. We recommend that you include your name and a mailing address, an e-mail address, or a phone number in the body of your document so that we can contact you if we have questions regarding your submission. To submit your comment online, type the docket number [USCG-2015-0046] in the "SEARCH" box and click "SEARCH." Click on "Submit a Comment" on the line associated with this rulemaking. If you submit your comments by mail or hand delivery, submit them in an unbound format, no larger than 8-1/2 by 11 inches, suitable for copying and electronic filing. If you submit them by mail and would like to know that they reached the Facility, please enclose a stamped, self-addressed postcard or envelope. We will consider all comments and materials received during the comment period and may change the rule based on your comments. Ref. LNM 08 through 20-15 and Docket Number USCG-2015-0046 Chart: 11451.