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Proposed Rule

Drawbridge Operation Regulation; Spa Creek, Annapolis, MD

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Coast Guard, DHS.


Notice of proposed rulemaking.


The Commander, Fifth Coast Guard District, is proposing to change the regulations that govern the operation of the S181 Bridge, mile 4.0, across Spa Creek, at Annapolis, Maryland. These regulations are necessary to facilitate public safety and expedite vehicular traffic from the city of Annapolis after the annual fireworks display. This proposed change to the drawbridge operation schedule will allow the S181 Bridge to remain in the closed position from 8:30 p.m. to 11 p.m. on July 4, of every year. In the event of inclement weather, the alternate date is July 5.


Comments and related material must reach the Coast Guard on or before July 16, 2004.


You may mail comments and related material to the Commander (oan-b), Fifth Coast Guard District, Federal Building, 4th Floor, 431 Crawford Street, Portsmouth, Virginia 23703-5004. 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 at the above address between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays.

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Gary S. Heyer, Bridge Management Specialist, Fifth Coast Guard District, at (757) 398-6227.

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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 (CGD05-04-052), 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 Start Printed Page 27871a 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 plan to hold a public meeting. But you may submit a request for a meeting by writing to the Commander, Fifth Coast Guard District 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 City of Annapolis Recreation and Parks Department (the Department) on behalf of Maryland Department of Transportation, who owns and operates the S181 Bridge, requested a change to the operating regulations set out in 33 CFR 117.571.

In accordance with 33 CFR 117.37(a) for reasons of public safety or for public functions, the District Commander may authorize the opening and closing of a drawbridge for a specified period of time.

Due to the high volume of spectators that attend this annual event, it is necessary to close the draw span to vessels between the hours of 8:30 p.m. to 11 p.m. to help expedite exiting vehicular traffic from the City of Annapolis after the fireworks display. This will reduce vehicular traffic congestion and increase public safety because the S181 Bridge is the largest bridge exiting the area.

The proposed change would allow the S181 Bridge to remain in the closed position from 8:30 p.m. to 11 p.m. on July 4, of every year. In the event of inclement weather, the alternate date is July 5.

Since the Annapolis Fireworks Display is a well-known annual event, and it is publicly advertised, vessel operators can arrange their transits to minimize any impact caused by the closure. Vessels with a mast height less than 15 feet may still transit under the Spa Creek Bridge during this event.

Discussion of Proposed Rule

We propose to amend the current operating regulation set out in 33 CFR 117.571. Currently, the regulations require that on Federal holidays the draw shall open on the hour and half hour for vessels waiting to pass.

A new paragraph will be added to § 117.571, which allows the Spa Creek Bridge to remain in the closed position from 8:30 p.m. to 11 p.m. on July 4, of every year. In the event of inclement weather, the alternate date is July 5.

Regulatory Evaluation

This proposed rule is not a “significant regulatory action” under section 3(f) of Executive Order 12866, Regulatory Planning and Review, 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 Homeland Security (DHS).

We expect the economic impact of this proposed rule to be so minimal that a full Regulatory Evaluation under the regulatory policies and procedures of DHS is unnecessary.

This conclusion was based on the fact that the proposed change will have a very limited impact on maritime traffic transiting this area. Since Spa Creek will remain open to navigation during this event, mariners with mast height less than 15 feet may still transit through the S181 Bridge.

Small Entities

Under the Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 601-612), we have considered whether this 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.

The proposed rule would not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities because even though the rule closes the S181 Bridge to mariners, those with mast heights less than 15 feet will still be able to transit through the bridge during the closed hours and mariners whose mast heights are greater than 15 feet will be able to use the Atlantic Ocean as an alternate route or transit after the closed hours.

Assistance for Small Entities

Under section 213(a) of the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996 (Pub. L. 104-121), we offered to assist small entities in understanding the rule so that they could better evaluate its effects on them and participate in the rulemaking process.

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.).


A rule has implications for federalism under Executive Order 13132, Federalism, if it has a substantial direct effect on State or local governments and would either preempt State law or impose a substantial direct cost of compliance on them. We have analyzed this proposed rule under that Order and have determined that it does not have implications for federalism.

Unfunded Mandates Reform Act

The Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 (2 U.S.C. 1531-1538) requires Federal agencies to assess the effects of their discretionary regulatory actions. In particular, the Act addresses actions that may result in the expenditure by a State, local, or tribal government, in the aggregate, or by the private sector of $100,000,000 or more in any one year. Though this proposed rule will not result in such expenditure, we do discuss the effects of this rule elsewhere in this preamble.

Taking of Private Property

This proposed rule would not affect 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 section 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 would not create an environmental risk to health or risk to safety that might disproportionately affect children.

Indian Tribal Governments

This proposed rule does not have tribal implications under Executive Order 13175, Consultation and Coordination with Indian Tribal Start Printed Page 27872Governments, because it would not have a substantial direct effect on one or more Indian tribes, on the relationship between the Federal Government and Indian tribes, or on the distribution of power and responsibilities between the Federal Government and Indian tribes.

Energy Effects

We have analyzed this proposed rule under Executive Order 13211, Actions Concerning Regulations That Significantly Affect Energy Supply, Distribution, or Use. We have determined that it is not a “significant energy action” under that order because it is not a “significant regulatory action” under Executive Order 12866 and is not likely to have a significant adverse effect on the supply, distribution, or use of energy. It has not been designated by the Administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs as a significant energy action. Therefore, it does not require a Statement of Energy Effects under Executive Order 13211.


We have analyzed this proposed rule under Commandant Instruction M16475.1D, which guides the Coast Guard in complying with the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA) (42 U.S.C. 4321-4370f), and have concluded that there are no factors in this case that would limit the use of a categorical exclusion under section 2.B.2 of the Instruction. Therefore, this proposed rule is categorically excluded, under figure 2-1, paragraph (32)(e) of the Instruction, from further environmental documentation. Allowing the draw to remain closed for vessels at the times indicated on July 4, of every year would have no individually or cumulatively significant impact on the environment.

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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 amends 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, Department of Homeland Security Delegation No. 0170.1; 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. Amend § 117.571 by redesignating paragraph (c) as paragraph (c)(1) and adding a new paragraph (c)(2) to read as follows:

Spa Creek.
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(c) * * *

(2) From 8:30 p.m. to 11 p.m. on July 4 of every year, the draw need not open for vessels. In the event of inclement weather, the alternate date is July 5.

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Dated: May 5, 2004.

Ben R. Thomason, III,

Captain, U.S. Coast Guard, Acting Commander, Fifth Coast Guard District.

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[FR Doc. 04-11151 Filed 5-14-04; 8:45 am]