Skip to Content

Proposed Rule

Drawbridge Operation Regulation; Norwalk River, Norwalk CT

Document Details

Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

Enhanced Content

Relevant information about this document from Regulations.gov provides additional context. This information is not part of the official Federal Register document.

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 proposed rulemaking.

SUMMARY:

The Coast Guard proposes to modify the operating schedule that governs the Metro-North WALK Bridge across the Norwalk River, mile 0.1, at Norwalk, Connecticut. The bridge owner submitted a request to require a greater advance notice for bridge openings and to increase the time periods the bridge remains in the closed position during the weekday morning and evening commuter rush hours. It is expected that this change to the regulations will create efficiency in drawbridge operations while continuing to meet the reasonable needs of navigation.

DATES:

Comments and related material must be received by the Coast Guard on or before October 30, 2015.

ADDRESSES:

You may submit comments identified by docket number USCG-2014-1057 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 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 proposed rule, call or email Mr. Chris Bisignano, Project Officer, First Coast Guard District, telephone 212-514-4331, Christopher.j.bisignano@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:

Tables of Acronyms

CFR Code of Federal Regulations

DHS Department of Homeland Security

FR Federal Register

NPRM Notice of Proposed Rulemaking

§ Section Symbol

U.S.C. United States Code

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 (USCG-2014-1057), 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 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 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, type the docket number USCG-2014-1057 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 Start Printed Page 52424electronic 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.

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-2014-1057) 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. We have an agreement with the Department of Transportation to use the Docket Management Facility.

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 three 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.

B. Regulatory History and Information

The Coast Guard published a test deviation with request for comment; Norwalk River, Connecticut, (80 FR 1334), under docket number (USCG-2014-1057), in effect from January 1, 2015, through June 28, 2015, to test the proposed changes to the drawbridge operation regulations. Six comments were received on the docket. Four of these comments argued the test deviation did not offer sufficient time during daylight hours for vessels to pass through both the Metro-North WALK Bridge and the downstream State Route 136 Bridge. In addition, tidal impacts further diminished opportunities for passage. Two comments noted negative economic impacts to upstream businesses should the test deviation be implemented as a rule change because the restrictive daytime hours combined with the need for high tide moves along the river would inhibit the ability to utilize marine borne deliveries. As a result of the comments and discussions with the bridge owner, the Coast Guard proposes the new schedule as discussed below.

C. Basis and Purpose

The Metro-North WALK Bridge, mile 0.1, across the Norwalk River at Norwalk, Connecticut, has a vertical clearance in the closed position of 16 feet at mean high water and 23 feet at mean low water. The drawbridge operation regulations are listed at 33 CFR 117.217(b). The waterway users are seasonal recreational vessels and commercial vessels of various sizes.

The existing Drawbridge Operation Regulations require the draw of the Metro-North Walk Bridge to open on signal as follows:

From 5 a.m. to 9 p.m., except that, from Monday through Friday excluding holidays, the draw need not be opened from 7 a.m. to 8:45 a.m. and 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., unless an emergency exists.

Only once in any 60-minute period from 5:45 a.m. to 7 a.m. and 6 p.m. to 7:45 p.m.

From 9 p.m. to 5 a.m., if at least four hours notice is given.

A delay of up to 20 minutes may be expected if a train is approaching so closely that it may not be safely stopped.

This regulation has been in effect since April 24, 1984.

The owner of the bridge, Connecticut Department of Transportation, requested a change to the Drawbridge Operation Regulations because the volume of train traffic across the bridge during the peak commuting hours makes bridge openings impractical under the current schedule. As a result, bridge openings that occur during peak commuter train hours cause significant delays to commuter rail traffic.

D. Discussion of Proposed Rule

As a result of comments received from the test deviation, 80 FR 1334, and discussions with the bridge owner, the Coast Guard proposes to permanently change the drawbridge operation regulations at 33 CFR 117.217(b), that would allow the Metro-North WALK Bridge at mile 0.1, across the Norwalk River, at Norwalk, Connecticut, to operate as follows:

The draw shall open on signal between 4:30 a.m. and 9 p.m. after at least a two hour advance notice is given; except that, from 4:30 a.m. through 9:30 a.m. and from 4 p.m. through 9 p.m., Monday through Friday excluding holidays, the draw need not open for the passage of vessel traffic unless an emergency exists.

From 9 p.m. through 4:30 a.m. the draw shall open on signal after at least a four hour advance notice is given.

A delay in opening the draw not to exceed 10 minutes may occur when a train scheduled to cross the bridge without stopping has entered the drawbridge lock.

Requests for bridge openings may be made by calling the bridge via marine radio VHF FM Channel 13 or the telephone number posted at the bridge.

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 or 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 Order 12866, or under section1 of Executive Order 13563. The Office of Management and Budget has not reviewed it under those Orders.

The Coast Guard believes that this rule is not a significant regulatory action because the bridge will still open for all vessel traffic after an advance notice is given, except during the morning and afternoon closed periods. The vertical clearance under the bridge in the closed position is relatively high enough to accommodate most vessel traffic during the time periods the draw is closed during the morning and evening commuter rush hours.

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. Start Printed Page 52425The 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.

This proposed rule would affect the following entities, some of which might be small entities: The owners or operators of vessels needing to transit the bridge from 4:30 a.m. and 9:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. and 9 p.m. on weekdays.

This action will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities for the following reasons: The Metro-North WALK Bridge will continue to open on signal provided the required advance notice is given, except during the morning and afternoon closed periods. The vertical clearance under the bridge in the closed position is high enough to accommodate most vessel traffic during the time period the draw is closed, except for emergencies, during the morning and evening commuter rush hours 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 would call for no 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 have determined that it 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 will 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

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 guides 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 which do not individually or cumulatively have a significant effect on the human environment. This proposed rule simply promulgates the operating regulations or procedures for drawbridges. This rule is categorically excluded, under figure 2-1, paragraph (32)(e), of the Instruction.

Under figure 2-1, paragraph (32)(e), of the Instruction, an environmental analysis checklist and a categorical exclusion determination are not required for this rule.

However, the United States Coast Guard is providing the State of Connecticut's coastal management program with a Consistency Determination under CZMA § 307(c)(1)(C) and 15 CFR part 930, subpart C. Pursuant to 15 CFR part 930.35(b), the Coast Guard is providing the State of Connecticut Coastal Management Program with a Negative Determination under 15 CFR part 930.35(a)(1) regarding the change to the operating schedule for the Metro-North “WALK” Bridge at mile 0.1 across the Norwalk River in Norwalk, Connecticut. The State's concurrence will be presumed if the State's response is not received by the USCG, Bridge Program Office, at Commander (dpb), One South Street, New York, NY 10004-1466, on the 60th day from receipt of this Determination.

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 117

  • Bridges
End List of Subjects Start Printed Page 52426

For the reasons discussed in the preamble, the Coast Guard proposes to amend 33 CFR part 117 as follows:

Start Part

PART 117—DRAWBRIDGE OPERATION REGULATIONS

End Part

1. The authority citation for part 117 continues to read as follows:

Start Authority

Authority: 33 U.S.C. 499; 33 CFR 1.05-1; Department of Homeland Security Delegation No. 0170.1.

End Authority

2. In § 117.217, revise paragraph (b) to read as follows:

Norwalk River.
* * * * *

(b) The Metro-North WALK Bridge at mile 0.1, across the Norwalk River, at Norwalk, Connecticut shall operate as follows:

(1) The draw shall open on signal between 4:30 a.m. and 9 p.m. after at least a two hour advance notice is given; except that, from 4:30 a.m. through 9:30 a.m. and from 4 p.m. through 9 p.m., Monday through Friday excluding holidays, the draw need not open for the passage of vessel traffic unless an emergency exists.

(2) From 9 p.m. through 4:30 a.m. the draw shall open on signal after at least a four hour advance notice is given.

(3) A delay in opening the draw not to exceed 10 minutes may occur when a train scheduled to cross the bridge without stopping has entered the drawbridge lock.

(4) Requests for bridge openings may be made by calling the bridge via marine radio VHF FM Channel 13 or the telephone number posted at the bridge.

Start Signature

Dated: August 20, 2015.

L.L. Fagan,

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

End Signature End Supplemental Information

[FR Doc. 2015-21531 Filed 8-28-15; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 9110-04-P