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Drawbridge Operation Regulations; Berwick Bay, Morgan City, LA

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Coast Guard, DHS.


Notice of temporary deviation from regulations.


The Commander, Eighth Coast Guard District, has issued a temporary deviation from the regulation governing the operation of the Burlington Northern Railway Vertical Lift Span Railroad Bridge across Berwick Bay, mile 17.5, at Morgan City, St. Mary Parish, Louisiana. This deviation provides a four-hour bridge closure to navigation, Monday through Thursday from June 16, 2003 through July 10, 2003. The deviation is necessary to conduct scheduled maintenance to the railroad on the drawbridge.


This deviation is effective from 8 a.m. on Monday, June 16, 2003 until noon on Thursday, July 10, 2003.


Materials referred to in this document are available for inspection or copying at the office of the Eighth Coast Guard District, Bridge Administration Branch, Hale Boggs Federal Building, room 1313, 501 Magazine Street, New Orleans, Louisiana 70130-3396 between 7 a.m. and 3 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. The telephone number is (504) 589-2965. The Bridge Administration Branch of the Eighth Coast Guard District maintains the public docket for this temporary deviation.

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Phil Johnson, Bridge Administration Branch, telephone (504) 589-2965.

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The Burlington Northern Railway Company has requested a temporary deviation in order to remove and replace all of the crossties on the lift span of the bridge across Berwick Bay, mile 17.5, at Morgan City, St. Mary Parish, Louisiana. This maintenance is essential for the continued safe operation of the railroad bridge. This temporary deviation will allow the bridge to remain in the closed-to-navigation position from 8 a.m. until noon, Monday through Thursday from June 16, 2003 through July 10, 2003.

The vertical lift span bridge has a vertical clearance of 4 feet above National Geodetic Vertical Datum (NGVD) in the closed-to-navigation position and 73 feet above NGVD in the open-to-navigation position. Navigation at the site of the bridge consists of tugs with tows transporting petroleum products, chemicals and construction equipment, commercial fishing vessels, oil industry related work boats and crew boats and some recreational craft. Since the lift span of the bridge will only be closed to navigation four hours per day, four days per week, ample time will be allowed for commercial and recreational vessels to schedule transits. Accordingly, it has been determined that this closure will not have a significant effect on vessel traffic. The bridge normally remains in the open-to-navigation position until a train enters the signal block, requiring it to close. An average number of openings for the passage of vessels is, therefore, not available. In accordance with 33 CFR 117.5, the draw of the bridge shall open on signal at all times. The bridge will not be able to open for emergencies during the closure periods because the weight disparity imposed by the presence of maintenance equipment on the lift span will not allow for its safe operation. The Intracoastal Waterway—Morgan City to Port Allen Landside Route is an alternate route for vessels with less than a 12-foot draft.

In accordance with 33 CFR 117.35(c), this work will be performed with all due speed in order to return the bridge to normal operation as soon as possible. This deviation from the operating regulations is authorized under 33 CFR 117.35.

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Dated: May 16, 2003.

Marcus Redford,

Bridge Administrator.

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[FR Doc. 03-13058 Filed 5-23-03; 8:45 am]