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Proposed Rule

Drawbridge Operations; Duwamish River, Seattle, WA

Document Details

Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

Published Document

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Coast Guard, DOT.


Notice of proposed rulemaking.


The Coast Guard proposes to increase by one hour the afternoon closed period, Monday through Friday, during which the First Avenue South Drawbridges across the Duwamish River, mile 2.5, at Seattle, Washington, need not open for the passage of vessels. Currently, the dual bascule bridges need not open from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, except for federal holidays. The proposed change would extend this period from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.


Comments and related material must reach the Coast Guard on or before October 17, 2000.


You may mail comments and related material to Commander (oan), Thirteenth Coast Guard District, 915 Second Avenue, Seattle, Washington 98174-1067 or deliver them to room 3510 between 7:45 a.m. and 4:15 p.m., Monday through Friday, except federal holidays. The Aids to Navigation and Waterways Management Office maintains the public docket for this rulemaking. Comments and material received from the public, as well as documents indicated in this preamble as being available in the docket, will become part of this docket and will be available for inspection or copying.

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Austin Pratt, Project Officer, Thirteenth Coast Guard District, (206) 220-7282.

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Request for Comments

We encourage you to participate in this rulemaking by submitting comments and related material. If you do so, please include your name and address, identify the docket number for this rulemaking (CGD13-00-029), indicate the specific section of this document to which each comment applies, and give the reason for each comment. Please submit all comments and related material in an unbound format, no larger than 81/2 by 11 inches, suitable for copying. If you would like to know they reached us, please enclose a stamped, self-addressed postcard or envelope. We will consider all comments and material received during the comment period. We may change this proposed rule in view of them.

Public Meeting

We do not now plan to hold a public meeting. However, you may submit a request for a meeting by writing to Commander, Thirteenth Coast Guard District (oan) at the address under ADDRESSES explaining why one would be beneficial. If we determine that one would aid this rulemaking, we will hold one at a time and place announced by a later notice in the Federal Register.

Background and Purpose

The dual First Avenue South bascule bridges provide 32 feet of vertical clearance above mean high water for the central 100 feet of horizontal distance in the channel spans. When the drawspans are open there is unlimited vertical clearance for the central 120 feet of the spans. An adjacent, parallel bascule bridge was constructed and completed in 1999. Drawbridge openings are provided for recreational vessels, large barges, and floating construction equipment. The operating regulations currently in effect for these drawbridges at 33 CFR 117.1041 provide that the spans need not open for the passage of vessels from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. and from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, except for federal holidays. The draws shall open at any time for a vessel of 5,000 gross tons and over, a vessel towing such a vessel or en route to take in tow a vessel of that size. These periods provide some relief to heavy commuter traffic on First Avenue South. Much of this commuter traffic is generated by several facilities of the Boeing Company and other industrial concerns in the area.

Discussion of Proposed Rule

Proposed for change is the ending time of the afternoon closed period. Currently, the weekday closed period in the afternoon is from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. The proposed change is to extend that period one hour to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday, except for federal holidays, which will coincide better with commuter traffic volumes. Traffic counts are showing numbers at 7 p.m. on weekdays that are often as high as those at 3 p.m. when the afternoon closed period in effect commences. Start Printed Page 50481

Regulatory Evaluation

This proposed rule is not a “significant regulatory action” under section 3(f) of Executive Order 12866 and does not require an assessment of potential costs and benefits under section 6(a)(3) of that Order. The Office of Management and Budget has not reviewed it under that Order. It is not significant under the regulatory policies and procedures of the Department of Transportation (DOT) (44 FR 11040, February 26, 1979).

We expect the economic impact of this proposed rule to be so minimal that a full Regulatory Evaluation under paragraph 10e of the regulatory policies and procedures of DOT is unnecessary. This conclusion is based on the fact that the bridges would open only for vessels one hour less per weekday than it does now. The bridges opened a total of 1591 times for vessels in 1999 for a daily average of less than 5 times.

Collection of Information

This proposed rule would call for no new collection of information under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501-3520.).


We have analyzed this proposed rule under E.O. 13132 and have determined that this rule does not have implications for federalism under that Order.

Small Entities

Under the Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 601-612), we considered whether this proposed rule would have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. The term “small entities” comprises small businesses, not-for-profit organizations that are independently owned and operated and are not dominant in their fields, and governmental jurisdictions with populations of less than 50,000.

The Coast Guard certifies under 5 U.S.C. 605(b) that this proposed rule would not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. Some vessel owners might be temporarily inconvenienced by the change, if effected, but the delay of an additional hour in the evening should not be significant, especially after vessel operators learn of the change and can therefore plan their trips on the river accordingly.

If you think that your business, organization, or governmental jurisdiction qualifies as a small entity and that this rule would have a significant economic impact on it, please submit a comment (see ADDRESSES) explaining why you think it qualifies and how and to what degree this rule would economically affect it.

Assistance for Small Entities

Under section 213(a) of the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996 (Pub. L. 104-121), we want to assist small entities in understanding this proposed rule so that they can better evaluate its effects on them and participate in the rulemaking. If the rule would affect our small business, organization, or governmental jurisdiction and you have questions concerning its provisions or options for compliance, please contact Mr. Austin Pratt at (206) 220-7282.

Unfunded Mandates

The Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 (2 U.S.C. 1531-1538) governs the issuance of Federal regulations that require unfunded mandates. An unfunded mandate is a regulation that requires a State, local, or tribal government or the private sector to incur direct costs without the Federal Government's having first provided the funds to pay those costs. This proposed rule would not impose an unfunded mandate.

Taking of Private Property

This proposed rule would not effect a taking of private property or otherwise have taking implications under E.O. 12630, Governmental Actions and Interference with Constitutionally Protected Property Rights.

Civil Justice Reform

This proposed rule meets applicable standards in sections 3(a) and 3(b)(2) of E.O. 12988, Civil Justice Reform, to minimize litigation, eliminate ambiguity, and reduce burden.

Protection of Children

We have analyzed this proposed rule under E.O. 13045, Protection of Children from Environmental Health Risks and Safety Risks. This rule is not an economically significant rule and does not concern an environmental risk to health or risk to safety that may disproportionately affect children.


We considered the environmental impact of this proposed rule and concluded that, under figure 2-1, paragraph (32)(e) of Commandant Instruction M16475.lC, this proposed rule is categorically excluded from further environmental documentation because promulgation of drawbridge regulations have been found not to have a significant effect on the environment. A “Categorical Exclusion Determination” is available in the docket at the address indicated under ADDRESSES.

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List of Subjects in 33 CFR Part 117

  • Bridges
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For the reasons discussed in the preamble, the Coast Guard proposes to amend 33 CFR part 117 as follows:

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1. The authority citation for part 117 continues to read as follows:

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Authority: 33 U.S.C. 499; 49 CFR 1.46; 33 CFR 1.05-1(g); section 117.255 also issued under the authority of Pub. L. 102-587, 106 Stat. 5039.

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2. Section 117.1041(a)(1) is revised to read as follows:

Duwamish Waterway.

(a) * * *

(1) From Monday through Friday, except federal holidays, the draws of the dual First Avenue South bridges, mile 2.5, need not open for the passage of vessels from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. except: The draws shall open at any time for a vessel of 5,000 gross tons and over, a vessel towing a vessel of 5,000 gross tons and over, and a vessel proceeding to pick up a vessel of 5,000 gross tons and over.

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Dated: August 9, 2000.

Erroll Brown,

Rear Admiral, U. S. Coast Guard, Commander, Thirteenth Coast Guard District.

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[FR Doc. 00-21124 Filed 8-17-00; 8:45 am]