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Proposed Rule

Safety Zone; Witt-Penn Bridge Construction, Hackensack River; Jersey City, NJ

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Start Preamble

AGENCY:

Coast Guard, DHS.

ACTION:

Notice of proposed rulemaking.

SUMMARY:

The Coast Guard proposes to establish a safety zone on the navigable waters of the Hackensack River surrounding the Witt-Penn Bridge between Jersey City and Kearny, NJ. In response to a planned Witt-Penn Bridge construction project, this rule would allow the Coast Guard to prohibit all vessel traffic through the safety zone during bridge replacement operations, both planned and unforeseen, that could pose an imminent hazard to persons and vessels operating in the area. This rulemaking is necessary to provide for the safety of life in the vicinity of the construction of the Witt-Penn Bridge.

DATES:

Comments and related material must be received by the Coast Guard on or before August 25, 2015.

Requests for public meetings must be received by the Coast Guard on or before July 17, 2015.

ADDRESSES:

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

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

(2) Fax: (202) 493-2251.

(3) Mail or Delivery: 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. Deliveries accepted between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except federal holidays. The telephone number is (202) 366-9329.

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

Start Further Info

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

If you have questions on this rule, contact Mr. Jeff Yunker, Coast Guard Sector New York; telephone (718) 354-4195, or email jeff.m.yunker@uscg.mil. If you have questions on viewing or submitting material to the docket, call Cheryl Collins, Program Manager, Docket Operations, telephone (202) 366-9826.

End Further Info End Preamble Start Supplemental Information

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Table of Acronyms

COTP Captain of the Port

DHS Department of Homeland Security

FR Federal Register

NJ DOT New Jersey Department of Transportation

NPRM Notice of Proposed Rulemaking

A. 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.

1. Submitting Comments

If you submit a comment, please include the docket number for this rulemaking, 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 at 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, it will be considered received by the Coast Guard when you successfully transmit the comment. If you fax, hand deliver, 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 email address, or a telephone 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, type the docket number [USCG-2014-1008] in the “SEARCH” box and click “SEARCH.” Click on “Submit a Comment” on the line associated with this rulemaking.

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 comments 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.

2. 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, type the docket number (USCG-2014-1008) in the “SEARCH” box and click “SEARCH.” Click on Open Docket Folder on the line associated with this rulemaking. 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.

3. 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).

4. Public Meeting

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

B. Regulatory History and Information

The Coast Guard issued a Bridge Permit dated April 7, 2011 approving the location and construction of the Witt-Penn Bridge across the Hackensack River, mile 3.1, between Kearny and Jersey City, NJ. The Coast Guard published a Solicitation of Comments from NJ DOT in the First Coast Guard Start Printed Page 36734District Local Notice to Mariners #16 (April 23, 2014), #17 (April 30, 2014), #18 (May 7, 2014), #19 (May 14, 2014, and #20 (May 21, 2014). This solicitation requested comments regarding impacts to navigation from the following proposed tentative channel closures/restrictions:

Approximate datesChannel closure/obstructionDescription of work
October 5, 2015 through June 20, 2017Maximum of 40, one-day, Full Channel closures during this timelineFull channel closure for Heavy-Lift operations on 40 separate days.
November 23, 2016 through December 13, 2016Full Channel ClosureInstallation of the Main Span.
December 13, 2016 through February 21, 2017Channel Restriction—70 ft Vertical ClearanceComplete Installation of Operating Systems.

The contractor's barges will be moved completely out of the channel after work hours during the 40, one-day full channel closures. Closures will not be on consecutive days.

The full channel closure dates are an estimate. The contractor's barges would block the entire Federal channel preventing any vessels from transiting upstream or downstream.

The channel restriction is based on the lift span not operating, but the channel will remain available for vessel transits with an air draft under 70 ft.

Due to project delays construction at the bridge site has been delayed until October 5, 2015 and the tentative channel closure/restriction dates have been revised to:

Approximate datesChannel closure/obstructionDescription of work
March 14, 2016 through October 12, 2017Maximum of 40, one-day, Full Channel closures during this timelineFull channel closure for Heavy-Lift operations on 40 separate days.
April 14, 2017 through May 4, 2017Full Channel ClosureInstallation of the Main Span.
May 5, 2017 through July 17, 2017Channel Restriction—70 ft Vertical ClearanceComplete Installation of Operating Systems.

In addition, channel closure requests are expected when the existing Witt-Penn Bridge is demolished. This is tentatively scheduled to take place between approximately July 2017 and December 31, 2021.

C. Basis and Purpose

The legal basis for this rule is 33 U.S.C. 1231; 50 U.S.C. 191; 33 CFR 1.05-1, 6.04-1, 6.04-6, 160.5; Department of Homeland Security Delegation No. 0170.1, which collectively authorize the Coast Guard to define regulatory safety zones.

The purpose of this rulemaking is to ensure the safety of vessels and workers from hazards associated with construction on the Witt-Penn Bridge.

D. Discussion of Proposed Rule

The proposed rule will give the COTP authority to prohibit vessel traffic on this portion of the Hackensack River, when necessary, for the safety of vessels and workers during construction work in the channel. The Coast Guard will close the designated area to all traffic during any circumstance, planned or unforeseen, that poses an imminent threat to waterway users or construction operations in the area. Complete waterway closures will be minimized to that period absolutely necessary and made with as much advanced notice as possible. During closures there will not be enough space for mariners to transit through the safety zone between the construction vessels and the current bridge piers.

The COTP would notify the public of the enforcement of this safety zone by marine broadcasts or local notice to mariners. Such notifications would include the date and times of enforcement, along with any pre-determined conditions of entry.

A navigation safety situation created by construction of the new Witt-Penn Bridge and removal of the current Witt-Penn Bridge prompted the proposed rule. This bridge carries Route 7 over the Hackensack River. The existing Witt-Penn Bridge was built in 1930, has been declared functionally obsolete by the Federal Highway Administration. NJ DOT has hired China Construction America Civil, Inc. to construct a new fixed bridge approximately 200 feet upstream of the existing bridge and remove the existing movable, vertical lift bridge. This new bridge will provide a minimum vertical clearance of 70-feet above Mean High Water in the closed position as compared to 35-feet for the existing lift bridge. The new bridge will provide the same 158 foot horizontal clearance. Construction is scheduled to begin mid to late 2015. Scheduled completion of the new bridge and removal of the old bridge is 2021.

The Coast Guard has discussed this project with NJ DOT to determine whether the project can be completed without channel closures and, if possible, what impact that would have on the project timeline. Through these discussions, it became clear that while the majority of construction activities during the span of this project would not require waterway closures, there are certain tasks that can only be completed in the channel and will require closing the waterway.

E. Regulatory Analyses

We developed this proposed rule after considering numerous statutes and executive orders related to rulemaking. Below we summarize our analyses based on these statutes and executive orders.

1. Regulatory Planning and Review

This proposed rule is not a significant regulatory action under section 3(f) of Executive Order 12866, Regulatory Planning and Review, as supplemented by Executive Order 13563, Improving Regulation and Regulatory Review, and does not require an assessment of potential costs and benefits under section 6(a)(3) of Executive Order 12866 or under section 1 of Executive Order 13563. The Office of Management and Budget has not reviewed it under those Orders.

The Coast Guard expects the economic impact of this proposed rule to be minimal as this proposed safety zone will be limited to the Hackensack River area, closures will be of a limited duration, and waterway users have already been notified of the proposed closures through the Local Notice to Mariners.

Advanced public notifications would also be made to local mariners through appropriate means, which may include but are not limited to marine broadcasts or Local Notice to Mariners which Start Printed Page 36735would allow the public an opportunity to plan for these closures.

2. Impact on Small Entities

The Regulatory Flexibility Act of 1980 (RFA), 5 U.S.C. 601-612, as amended, requires federal agencies to consider the potential impact of regulations on small entities during rulemaking. 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 will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities.

This safety zone would not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities for the following reasons. Waterway closures will be of a limited duration, and waterway users have already been notified of the proposed closures through the Local Notice to Mariners. Public notifications would also be made to local mariners through appropriate means, which may include but are not limited to marine broadcasts or Local Notice to Mariners which would allow the public an opportunity to plan for these closures.

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.

3. 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. If the rule would affect your small business, organization, or governmental jurisdiction and you have questions concerning its provisions or options for compliance, please contact the person listed in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT, above. The Coast Guard will not retaliate against small entities that question or complain about this proposed rule or any policy or action of the Coast Guard.

4. Collection of Information

This proposed rule will not call for a new collection of information under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501-3520.).

5. Federalism

A rule has implications for federalism under Executive Order 13132, Federalism, if it has a substantial direct effect on the States, on the relationship between the national government and the States, or on the distribution of power and responsibilities among the various levels of government. We have analyzed this proposed rule under that Order and determined that this rule does not have implications for federalism.

6. Protest Activities

The Coast Guard respects the First Amendment rights of protesters. Protesters are asked to contact the person listed in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section to coordinate protest activities so that your message can be received without jeopardizing the safety or security of people, places or vessels.

7. 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 (adjusted for inflation) or more in any one year. Though this proposed rule would not result in such an expenditure, we do discuss the effects of this rule elsewhere in this preamble.

8. Taking of Private Property

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

9. 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.

10. Protection of Children From Environmental Health Risks

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.

11. Indian Tribal Governments

This proposed rule does not have tribal implications under Executive Order 13175, Consultation and Coordination with Indian Tribal Governments, 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.

12. Energy Effects

This proposed rule is not a “significant energy action” under Executive Order 13211, Actions Concerning Regulations That Significantly Affect Energy Supply, Distribution, or Use.

13. Technical Standards

This proposed rule does not use technical standards. Therefore, we did not consider the use of voluntary consensus standards.

14. Environment

We have analyzed this proposed rule under Department of Homeland Security Management Directive 023-01 and Commandant Instruction M16475.lD, which guide the Coast Guard in complying with the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA) (42 U.S.C. 4321-4370f), and have made a preliminary determination that this action is one of a category of actions that do not individually or cumulatively have a significant effect on the human environment. This proposed rule involves the establishment of a safety zone which may be categorically excluded from further review under paragraph 34(g) of Figure 2-1 of the Commandant Instruction. A preliminary environmental analysis checklist supporting this determination will be available in the docket where indicated under ADDRESSES. We seek any comments or information that may lead to the discovery of a significant environmental impact from this proposed rule.

Start List of Subjects

List of Subjects in 33 CFR Part 165

  • Harbors
  • Marine safety
  • Navigation (water)
  • Reporting and recordkeeping requirements
  • Security measures, and Waterways
End List of Subjects

For the reasons discussed in the preamble, the Coast Guard proposes to amend 33 CFR part 165 as follows:

Start Part

PART 165—REGULATED NAVIGATION AREAS AND LIMITED ACCESS AREAS

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1. The authority citation for part 165 continues to read as follows:

End Amendment Part Start Authority

Start Printed Page 36736 Authority: 33 U.S.C 1231; 50 U.S.C. 191; 33 CFR 1.05-1, 6.04-1, 6.04-6, 160.5; Department of Homeland Security Delegation No. 0170.1.

End Authority Start Amendment Part

2. Add § 165.161 to read as follows:

End Amendment Part
Safety Zone; Witt-Penn Bridge Construction, Hackensack River, Jersey City, NJ.

(a) Location. The following area is a safety zone: All waters from surface to bottom of the Hackensack River bound by the following approximate positions: North of a line drawn from 40°44′27.4″ N., 074°05′09.8″ W. to 40°44′22.9″ N., 074°04′53.1″ W. (NJ PATH Bridge at mile 3.0), and south of a line drawn from 40°44′33.2″ N., 074°04′51.0″ W. to 40°44′28.2″ N., 074°04′42.7″ W. (500 feet north of the new Witt-Penn Bridge) (NAD 83).

(b) Definitions. The following definitions apply to this section:

(1) Designated representative. A “designated representative” is any Coast Guard commissioned, warrant or petty officer of the U.S. Coast Guard who has been designated by the COTP to act on his or her behalf. A designated representative may be on an official patrol vessel or may be on shore and will communicate with vessels via VHF-FM radio or loudhailer. In addition, members of the Coast Guard Auxiliary may be present to inform vessel operators of this regulation.

(2) Official patrol vessels. Official patrol vessels may consist of any Coast Guard, Coast Guard Auxiliary, state, or local law enforcement vessels assigned or approved by the COTP.

(c) Enforcement periods. (1) This safety zone is in effect permanently 1 November 2015 but will only be enforced when deemed necessary by the COTP.

(2) The Coast Guard will rely on the methods described in 33 CFR 165.7 to notify the public of the time and duration of any closure of the safety zone. Violations of this safety zone may be reported to the COTP at 718-354-4353 or on VHF-Channel 16.

(d) Regulations. (1) The general regulations contained in 33 CFR 165.23, as well as the following regulations, apply.

(2) During periods of enforcement, all persons and vessels must comply with all orders and directions from the COTP or a COTP's designated representative.

(3) During periods of enforcement, upon being hailed by a U.S. Coast Guard vessel by siren, radio, flashing light, or other means, the operator of the vessel must proceed as directed.

Start Signature

Dated: June 12, 2015.

G. Loebl,

Captain, U.S. Coast Guard, Captain of the Port New York.

End Signature End Supplemental Information

[FR Doc. 2015-15761 Filed 6-25-15; 8:45 am]

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