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Proposed Rule

Drawbridge Operations Regulations; Lake Washington Ship Canal, 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 temporarily change the operating regulations for the Ballard Bridge across the Lake Washington Ship Canal, mile 1.1, at Seattle, Washington. This change limits double-leaf opening of the draw daily to 5 a.m., 12:30 p.m., and 8 p.m. contingent upon five hours notice being given. Single-leaf openings would be provided in accordance with the currently established operating schedule and would be unaffected by this rulemaking. This temporary change is needed for 15 months to accommodate a major refurbishment project to the operating and drive systems of the bridge by the City of Seattle.


Comments and related material must reach the Coast Guard on or before April 13, 2001.


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 (CGD or COTP docket number), 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.

Pubic Meeting

We do not now plan to hold a public meeting. But 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 Start Printed Page 9780and place announced by a later notice in the Federal Register.

Background and Purpose

The City of Seattle proposes to replace the aged operating and drive systems of the bascule drawspan of the Ballard Bridge across the Lake Washington Ship Canal, mile 1.1, at Seattle, Washington. To minimize interference with navigation, only one leaf will be temporarily disabled at a time. The disabled draw leaf will be powered by a winch system that will not perform at the usual speed for this drawbridge. In order to avoid lengthy inoperative periods, the bridge owner proposes three daily periods during which the draw will open fully for vessels unable to safely pass through one-half of the span. With five hours notice, both leaves of the draw would open at 5 a.m., 12:30 p.m., and 8 p.m. on any day of the week. During the project, single-leaf openings would be available according to the operating schedule currently in effect. This rulemaking would provide that both draw leaves need not be opened for the passage of vessels, including vessels engaged in towing operations, from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. and from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, except federal holidays, for any vessel under 1000 gross tons.

Discussion of Proposed Rule

The Coast Guard proposes that double-leaf openings be required only three times daily after no less than five hours notice for a requested opening. These three scheduled openings would be at 5 a.m., 12:30 p.m., and 8 p.m. Single-leaf openings would be available whenever openings are currently required by the normal operating regulations of the bridge. Unless a vessel is 1000 gross tons or over, it need not receive an opening of the Ballard Bridge from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday (federal holidays excepted). With a single leaf open the Ballard Bridge provides 62.5 feet of horizontal clearance (125 feet with both leaves open) with unrestricted vertical clearance. In the closed position, the drawbridge provides 45 feet of vertical clearance above the mean regulated lake level (Lake Washington). Shorter periods of single-span opening operations have been authorized in the past. The majority of vessels on the related reach of the waterway can safely pass through a single-leaf draw opening.

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 most vessels will be able to pass the bridge with little change from normal operations and that all vessels can be accommodated three times a day.

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 should not be significant, especially after vessel operators learn of the change and can therefore plan their trips on the canal 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.

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 Executive Order 13132 and have determined that this rule does not have implications for federalism under that Order.

Unfunded Mandates Reform Act

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 Executive Order 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 Executive Order 12988, Civil Justice Reform, to minimize litigation, eliminate ambiguity, and reduce burden.

Protection of Children

We have analyzed this proposed rule under Executive Order 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 where 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 Start Printed Page 9781under the authority of Pub. L. 102-587, 106 Stat. 5039.

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2. From 5 a.m. on June 4, 2001, through 8 p.m. on September 30, 2002, § 117.1051 is temporarily amended by adding paragraph (d)(4) as follows:

Lake Washington Ship Canal.
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(d) * * *

(4) From 5 a.m. on June 4, 2001, to 8 p.m. September 30, 2002, the Ballard Bridge, mile 1.1, need not open both draw leaves for the passage of vessels, including those engaged in towing operations, except at 5 a.m., 12:30 p.m., and 8 p.m., if at least five hours notice is given.

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Dated: February 2, 2001.

Erroll Brown,

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

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[FR Doc. 01-3550 Filed 2-9-01; 8:45 am]