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Drawbridge Operation Regulations; Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway (AIWW), Elizabeth River, Southern Branch, VA

Document Details

Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

Published Document

This document has been published in the Federal Register. Use the PDF linked in the document sidebar for the official electronic format.

Start Preamble

AGENCY:

Coast Guard, DHS.

ACTION:

Notice of temporary deviation from regulations; request for comments.

SUMMARY:

The Commander, Fifth Coast Guard District, has issued a temporary deviation from the regulation governing the operation of the Gilmerton (US13/460) Bridge across the Elizabeth River (Southern Branch), AIWW mile 5.8, at Chesapeake, VA. This deviation will test a change to the drawbridge operation schedule to determine whether a schedule change is needed. This deviation will allow the bridge to remain in the closed position for certain vessels for longer morning and evening rush hour periods during the weekdays and will implement scheduled bridge openings between the rush hours and on the weekends.

DATES:

This deviation is effective from 6:30 a.m. on December 20, 2010 through 6:30 p.m. on June 18, 2011.

Comments and related material must be received by the Coast Guard on or before April 18, 2011.

ADDRESSES:

You may submit comments identified by docket number USCG-2010-0879 using any one of the following methods:

(1) Federal Rulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov.

(2) Fax: 202-493-2251.

(3) Mail: Docket Management Facility (M-30), U.S. Department of Transportation, West Building Ground Floor, Room W12-140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE., Washington, DC 20590-0001.

(4) Hand delivery: Same as mail address above, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. The telephone number is 202-366-9329.

To avoid duplication, please use only one of these methods. See the “Public Participation and Request for Comments” portion of the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section below for instructions on submitting comments.

Start Further Info

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

If you have questions on this proposed rule, call or e-mail Bill H. Brazier, Bridge Management Specialist, Fifth Coast Guard District; telephone 757-398-6422, e-mail Bill.H.Brazier@uscg.mil. If you have questions on viewing or submitting material to the docket, call Renee V. Wright, Program Manager, Docket Operations, telephone 202-366-9826.

End Further Info End Preamble Start Supplemental Information

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Public Participation and Request for Comments

We encourage you to participate in this rulemaking by submitting comments and related materials. All comments received will be posted, without change, to http://www.regulations.gov and will include any personal information you have provided.

Submitting Comments

If you submit a comment, please include the docket number for this rulemaking (USCG-2010-0879), 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 material 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 delivery, 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, go to http://www.regulations.gov, click on the “submit a comment” box, which will then become highlighted in blue. In the “Keyword” box insert “USCG-2010-0879,” click “Search,” and then click on the balloon shape in the “Actions” column. If you submit your comments by mail or hand delivery, submit them in an unbound format, no larger than 81/2 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 material received during the comment period and may change the rule based on your comments.Start Printed Page 69880

Viewing Comments and Documents

To view comments, as well as documents mentioned in this preamble as being available in the docket, go to http://www.regulations.gov, click on the “read comments” box, which will then become highlighted in blue. In the “Keyword” box insert “USCG-2010-0879” and click “Search.” Click the “Open Docket Folder” in the “Actions” column. You may also visit the Docket Management Facility in Room W12-140 on the ground floor of the Department of Transportation West Building, 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE., Washington, DC 20590, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. We have an agreement with the Department of Transportation to use the Docket Management Facility.

Privacy Act

Anyone can search the electronic form of comments received into any of our dockets by the name of the individual submitting the comment (or signing the comment, if submitted on behalf of an association, business, labor union, etc.). You may review a Privacy Act notice regarding our public dockets in the January 17, 2008, issue of the Federal Register (73 FR 3316).

Public Meeting

We do not now plan to hold a public meeting. But you may submit a request for one using one of the four methods specified under ADDRESSES. Please explain 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.

Basis and Purpose

The City of Chesapeake, Virginia (the City), who owns and operates the lift-type Gilmerton (US13/460) Bridge, has requested a temporary deviation to the existing bridge regulations. The normal operating schedule requires the Gilmerton (US13/460) Bridge, at AIWW mile 5.8 in Chesapeake, with a vertical clearance of seven feet above mean high tide in the closed position, to open on signal at anytime for commercial vessels carrying liquefied flammable gas or other hazardous materials. From 6:30 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. and from 3:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays, the draw need not open for the passage of recreational or commercial vessels; except the draw shall open any time for commercial cargo vessels, including tugs, and tugs with tows, if two hours advance notice is given to the Gilmerton Bridge at (757) 545-1512. In addition, the draw shall open on signal at all other times as required by 33 CFR 117.995(c). The current operating schedule has been in effect since November 17, 2003.

The Gilmerton Bridge Replacement project, which has been underway since November 2009, will provide a new vertical-lift type bridge over the Southern Branch of the Elizabeth River to replace the existing bridge that was constructed in 1938.

Due to the construction for the new Gilmerton (US13/460) Bridge, traffic is limited to one lane in each direction for the next three years. This test deviation will allow the City to monitor, measure, and identify congested roadway locations during heavy traffic periods. By expanding the morning and evening rush hour periods on the weekdays and implementing scheduled bridge openings between the rush hour periods and on the weekends, we anticipate a decrease in vehicular traffic congestion during the daytime hours.

During this test deviation, the City will gather data from the scheduled openings, along with vessel counts, to compare, evaluate, and monitor both old and new traffic patterns in hope of reducing roadway congestion on the bridge and local commuting area by adjusting bridge openings to ensure any future regulation will not have a significant impact on navigation. Vessel traffic on this waterway consists of pleasure craft, tug and barge traffic, and ships with assist tugs. There are no alternate routes for vessels transiting this section of the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway and the drawbridge will be able to open in the event of an emergency.

According to records furnished by the City, there were a total of 6,195 bridge openings and 12,498 vessel passages occurring at the drawbridge between September 2009 and September 2010. (See Table A)

Table A

2009200920092009201020102010201020102010201020102010
SEPOCTNOVDECJANFEBMARAPRMAYJUNJULAUGSEP
BRIDGE OPENINGS FOR SEPTEMBER 2009-SEPTEMBER 2010
551621549503299284317476639616459365516
BOAT PASSAGES FOR SEPTEMBER 2009-SEPTEMBER 2010
8921,8581,3616454063924789671,7701,408791628902

Under normal conditions, the Gilmerton (US13/460) Bridge is a vital transportation route for over 35,000 motorists per day. According to recent vehicular traffic counts submitted by the City, the average daily traffic volume decreased at the Gilmerton (US13/460) Bridge to approximately 20,000 cars a day. Due to construction, the I-64 High Rise Bridge is the suggested alternate route for motorists. Even with the alternative vehicular route, the Coast Guard anticipates a continued increase in vehicular traffic congestion over the Gilmerton (US13/460) Bridge due to the previously referenced vehicular traffic limitations.

A Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, USCG-2010-0879, is being issued in conjunction with this Temporary Deviation to obtain additional public comments. The proposed rule will be in effect for three years until December 20, 2013.

The Coast Guard will evaluate public comments from this Test Deviation and the above-referenced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to determine if a temporary change to the drawbridge operating regulation at 33 CFR 117.997(c) is warranted.

From 6:30 a.m. on December 20, 2010 through 6:30 p.m. on June 18, 2011, the draw of the Gilmerton (US13/460) Bridge, at AIWW mile 5.8, shall open on signal at any time for commercial vessels carrying liquefied flammable gas or other hazardous materials. From 6:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. and from 3:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays, the draw need not open for the passage of recreational Start Printed Page 69881or commercial vessels; except the draw shall open anytime for commercial cargo vessels, including tugs, and tugs with tows, if two hours advance notice is given to the Gilmerton Bridge at (757) 545-1512.

From 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 6:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Saturdays, Sundays and Federal holidays, the draw shall open on signal hourly on the half hour; except the draw shall open anytime for commercial cargo vessels, including tugs, and tugs with tows, if two hours advance notice is given to the Gilmerton Bridge at (757) 545-1512. At all other times, the draw shall open on signal.

We anticipate a decrease in vehicular traffic congestion at the bridge, with no impact to vessels passing under the bridge in the closed position; however we foresee slight delays to vessels while transitioning to the new test opening schedule.

This test deviation has been coordinated with the main commercial waterway user group, specifically, the Virginia Maritime Association who represents waterborne commerce in the Port of Hampton and there is no expectation of any significant impacts on navigation. Vessels with a mast height of less than seven feet can pass underneath the bridge in the closed position. There are no alternate waterway routes.

In accordance with 33 CFR 117.35(e), the drawbridge must return to its regular operating schedule immediately at the end of the designated time period. This deviation from the operating regulations is authorized under 33 CFR 117.35.

Start Signature

Dated: November 2, 2010.

Patrick B. Trapp,

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

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[FR Doc. 2010-28737 Filed 11-15-10; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 9110-04-P